Waiting is the hardest thing a child can do. It’s hard enough for adults, especially those of us who struggle with patience. For kids, any wait is interminable.
I think it’s because they measure time by their very brief life. Weeks, months, and years crawl past you when you’re five or six. Even nine or ten. I remember how it felt waiting all year until my next birthday—at the end of November—and then another thirty days to Christmas. That one month wasn’t too bad, but then I had to wait eleven more months to get to my next birthday. I was in a hurry to grow up and it seemed to take forever just to get from one birthday to the next.
I know Anna feels the same way. Her mid-January birthday is only three weeks after Christmas. She just turned nine and she’s in as much of a hurry to grow up as I was.
I tell her to wait. And enjoy being a kid while it lasts. She doesn’t get it. Like me, she won’t understand until she’s an adult, and not really understand until she’s a parent.
To me, time is racing past. One year after the next in a blink and a breath. She was a baby, then she was going to school, and now she’s one all-too-short year away from being ten.
I want to tell the world to wait. I want to tell the clocks to wait. I want to scream “wait” to God and all his creation.
But no matter how much I yell, the clock ticks forward. She thinks it’s dragging along. and I think it’s hurtling forward. She wants it to hurry up and I want it to slow down.
And yet it moves. Sixty seconds per minute. Sixty minutes per hour.
It hurries for no one. It stops for no one. And all I can do is savor each moment as it comes.
Another year, another birthday.
Not mine, hers. Our daughter Anna turned nine yesterday. How is that possible? How could she be nine already?
Yes, I know, there are parents reading this saying “Nine? What wouldn’t I give for my child to be only nine again.” And I know I’ll feel that way again in ten years when she turns nineteen and halfway through her first year of college.
Yikes! That’s depressing. Back to enjoying nine while it lasts.
It’s the last single-digit year. The last year where she just a kid and not a “tween”—oh how I hate that word. It used to be that you were a kid, then a teenager, and finally an adult. That’s how it was for me and for Julia. But now, kids only a year or two older than our Anna are called tweens, and childhood dwindles that much earlier.
I say this every year. “IT’S TOO SOON!”
I miss all the stuff she doesn’t do anymore, and I want to hold on to the little bits of her childhood that are left. But like anything else, I can’t hold on. We all are traveling into the future at the rate of sixty seconds a minute, and sixty minutes an hour. One day follows another and none of them ever come back.
That’s depressing, and since I’m rambling anyway, time to get back to the good stuff. She had a fun birthday yesterday and she has two parties this weekend—one for her Girl Scout Troop and the other for her third grade class. Both will be lots of fun. Julia is making vanilla cupcakes with aqua blue “Funfetti” frosting—the first batch tasted great—and we’re having a book exchange at both parties in lieu of presents.
Which is okay with Anna. She loves books, and she got a lot of great presents yesterday. Including a robot dog named Zoomie …
Zoomie loves to play. She also responds to voice commands and can do tricks. But like any new puppy she has to learn first, and Anna had to struggle to be patient with her.
Yesterday afternoon, we heard this exchange from the living room.
“Sit Zoomie. Sit!”
“No, not pee, sit!”
We had to struggle not to laugh too loud.