Watching little ones blow and chase bubbles on a sunny, summer day. It has to be one of the Top 10 Most Precious Sights in the World.
We all say it because, deep down, we believe it. But, sometimes something happens that makes us remember the truth:
Life goes by so very quickly.
In the last month, I have been face-to-face with that truth. Today, it snuck up on me as I looked out the window and saw the bubbles and my youngest chasing the floating globes. My youngest who just turned 7 one week ago. By the time my oldest was seven, I was chasing 5 little ones. But, those years came and went just as quickly as those bubbles my son was chasing.
To look at my children play is like holding still the hands of time. My kids play like their grandparents did in the 1950s…they ride bikes, catch frogs, swing on the swing set, and, they blow bubbles.
(Ok, so I don't know if they actually blew bubbles in the '50s…)
But, to stop and watch them, truly watch them, is also like holding those busy hands of Father Time. Maybe not stopping them, but slowing them down, just a tad. I don't do it often enough, but when I choose to leave the dinner half-made and walk out the door to watch my children play, I embed those images in my mind. I remember when my 16, 15, 13 and 12 year old children blew and chased bubbles. They don't now. Soon, my youngest 3 will no longer find such joy in it. I had to enjoy this moment…THIS moment…not knowing if there will be another like it.
At 7 years old, my son's biggest curiosity is trying to find the squirrel the dog chased up the tree. He grabs a pair of binoculars and searches, points, and talks to his four-legged friend while I grab a camera to capture the moment so it is not forever lost, like the pesky squirrel.
At 16, my son is trying desperately to hold on to the fun aspect of childhood while taking on the responsibility of a job and trying to catch a glimpse of what his future holds. He's trying to make a plan, but the focus changes weekly. I still want to direct, lead, keep him from falling and being hurt…but maybe it's time to let him fall, if need be. It is I who am afraid of the fall for it is I who fears the hurt. He has no fear. Maybe that's how God meant it for a young man. Maybe that's why He didn't create binoculars with which to see our future.
Precious lives are being brought into this world all around me. Most of these tiny lives thrive, while one does not. But, that's a story for another day. The ones that do survive, do their mothers know how precious and fleeting the time is? I knew the principle of that truth several years ago. Today, I know the reality of it.
Today, I really look at each note, each flower, each bubble. I try to savor each smile, each kiss, each hug, each "thank you," each misspelled word from my young ones.
Will I feel the same when my younger children are in their teen years? When they are trying to fit in, testing their wings of independence, trying to spy-out their future? Will I savor those moments?
Because, you know, I am not savoring them as my first teens are experiencing these moments.
THIS is the lesson I must learn NOW. To savor these times with my oldest child before I try to hold on to them in my youngest. The years are just as fleeting. It's how I savor them that will make the moments sweeter and the regrets fewer. I have rushed him through his life. His years have floated away so very quickly. Just as it is inevitable for that bubble to pop, his years with me will be gone and he will move on.
But sometimes, a bubble lasts longer than the rest. We could just walk by it, be little interested, or destroy it with one careless mis-step. Or we can study it, be amazed by it's intricacies, and be grateful for each extra second we have to behold it.
Maybe, just maybe, I can gently capture these last months or years with my older ones and just cup them in my hands rather than allowing them to float by and disappear.