Michelle Martin

Time flies

Sunday, February 21, 2016

When Caroline was about six months old, my father asked me what I thought of having a baby and all that meant.

By then, I knew that what people said was true: having a child changes you, changes your very identity. Before Caroline was born, I was Michelle. After she was born, I was Mom. And she couldn’t even speak.

What came as a surprise, I told my dad, was how much fun it all was. I enjoyed spending time with her: walking to the park, rocking her to sleep (or not — Caroline never wanted to sleep), reading to her, watching her learn to crawl and eventually walk.

Time flies when you’re having fun, and Caroline turned 18 this month. The child I took to preschool and swimming lessons and taught how to ride a bike can vote and sign contracts and join the military, although I don’t expect she’ll do that last one.

I might still have a kindergartner, but I’m also officially the parent of an adult child. When I asked her if she felt like an adult, she said no, not really. I told her that was OK; most of the time, I don’t feel like an adult either, and I’m closer to 60 than 30.

The years fly past us just like the minutes and the days. One day, the time gets away and I’m late getting Teresa to bitty basketball. The next thing I know, we’ll be planning for her graduation, because it doesn’t seem so long ago that Caroline was in kindergarten.

As I write this, there is snow on the ground, but it will probably be gone before anyone reads this. The tips of the crocuses that were poking through the dirt last week will be a bit taller when the snow melts. Spring will be a little closer, and we’ll be that much closer to Easter.

Lent will be over before we know it. But it’s here now, and we would do well to take advantage of it. Jesus, the Gospels tell us, took time away from his everyday life before starting his public ministry, and stepped away from the crowds when he needed to.

The church gives us Lent every year as a time of repentance, yes, but also reflection and renewal. Time moves too fast to let it go by without taking advantage of it.

So welcome to adulthood, Caroline. I know it doesn’t seem like much has changed for her; she still has a few months left of high school and lives at home, after all, and she knows she has our ongoing support. Still, things will change for her soon enough. Change is inevitable.

Soon enough, Frank will turn 18, too, and a few years after that, it will be Teresa’s turn. That time will fly, too, I’m sure. But this year, during Lent, I’ll try to take the time to slow down and watch the crocuses grow.