Present tense

Tomorrow morning, my daughter returns from her first experience at sleep-away camp.  She left with her church youth group last Sunday.  And while those in charge advised against campers bringing telephones, I allowed her to take one and for that reason, I’ve heard from her a few times this week via text message.  (Stuff like, “uh, I broke a bracket on my braces!”)

It’s been so quiet without her here.  I spent the first two days giving her room a thorough cleaning and then organizing it (with her advanced knowledge and permission).  In the past year she has turned away from her beloved stuff animals and fully embraced friends and everything that comes along with middle school.  She’s outgrown not just her old clothes, but childhood itself.  Time to put it away.

Now the relics of her childhood are stacked in the garage.  Some will be packed away to save but lots of it will be sold in a garage sale.  It seems another lifetime when I carefully packed a million stuffed animals into boxes when we moved but it was only four years ago.  That little girl is gone and in her place I have an eye-rolling, opinionated almost-teenager.  (It’s mostly awesome.)

When I try to imagine four years into the future, I’m blinded by the brightness.  It’s like looking into the sun.

So I blink and look back.  The past four years hover like a mirage, close but out of reach.  Time is a fun-house mirror, always distorted.

All the more reason to focus on today.  What else is there?

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Present tense

5 thoughts on “Present tense

  1. “Time is a fun-house mirror, always distorted.” – That is a brilliant observation.

    You will find that as you head into the brightness, it develops into a new normal.

    I see more of my daughter now that she is an adult than I ever did when she was a teenager always on her way to somewhere else. Just remember, when they marry and have children of their own, you will see them often if ever they need to employ a babysitter.

    I can’t remember a time in my life when I’ve had this much fun!

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  2. It wasn’t too long ago when she wanted to have a sleep-over at my house. She brought a bag with a little pillow, 2 little blankets, and pajamas. After we had eaten and played marbles (she loved to change the rules mid-game, so she could always win), she looked out the window, waiting for it to get dark. When she decided it was finally dark enough, and thus, time for bed, she practically ran into the bedroom to prepare her bed. On the floor at the foot of my bed, she put one of her little blankets down, then her pillow, after which she positioned her dollies. With her pajamas on, lit flashlight in hand, she wanted me to cover her with the one remaining blanket. Hugs given; “good-night” spoken; she shut her eyes. She was SO excited – she was having her first sleep-over at grandma’s house. (I have a picture of her – eyes shut – flashlight on – dollies on either side of her – trying oh so hard to be brave, and sleep without mommy nearby.)

    I turned off the light, and with my clothes still on, I quietly lay (how do you say that, past-tense?) on top of my bed. Waiting. Sure enough – it wasn’t even 10:00 p.m. when her scared little voice reached my ears: “I want to go home.” And her first ever official “sleep-over” came to an abrupt halt. I put my shoes on – she gathered up her bedding and her dollies – grabbed her bag, and out the door we went – to her home.

    So enjoy her homecoming tomorrow. One of these days she will go away, perhaps for the last time. The years go by much too quickly. The opportunities for going back home won’t always be there. Fortunately for her, and knowing you, the light will always be on in her room, and she will be so glad she could come back to you and to home.

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  3. Yvonne I. says:

    All three of you (Judy, Esther and you) brought tears to my eyes, as I think of my own 3 that have flown the coop, and one who is testing his wings and ready to leave at the first chance~

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  4. Mariah says:

    The days are long but the years are short. I read that somewhere and it rings so poignently true. My three are all married, two of them with their own children, and I’m loving this season of life! So I too, focus on today because tomorrow isn’t ever here. When it is, suddenly it’s today! And I don’t look backwards. I can’t change the past or bring it back, and honestly, I don’t think I’d want to because all the joys of today wouldn’t have happened yet! I fear I’m waxing far to0 philosophical…so I’ll stop. (This is what happens when I should have been in bed asleep long ago!)

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