The quiet passing of life stages
The last thing I saw were the tail lights of his mom’s car as he headed out on to the street. In doing so, one of the few and recognizable life stages has been passed. He’s now out exploring on his own, traversing the great outdoors, the highways, byways and thoroughfares of this life. FREEDOM!
Well, at this point it’s just to the bank and Walmart.
My son, Ian, got his license. And may I add that the arduous task of actually obtaining the license has little to do with driving and far more to do with patience. We traded the latter half of the day for an eight minute driving test. Oh, and for a photo sitting.
There’s nothing like the MVD, DMV or whatever you call it in your area, for some quality people-watching. If this is a representative cross-section of our country, we’re in trouble. Okay, that sounds a bit prideful. But I’m thinking that if I’m a 16-year-old, coming in to get my license and picture taken, I’m not showing up with a t-shirt that has a big pot plant silk-screened on the front, with the caption, MARIJUANA I’m Smokin’ It!
But I digress.
This is a moment in time when a step’s taken that embodies both increased benefits and responsibilities. Usually such life stages pass with little fanfare and are easy to miss while moving on to cross the next item off of the list.
Actually, life has many of these moments. But one specifically comes to mind.
This seems eerily familiar
I stood at the fence with my face pressing in between the bars. I had a lump in my throat the size of a basketball and watched him as best I could, while feigning unconcern and hiding saturated eyes. I clearly remember the plaid shirt and tan pants, and his blond hair combed just right. I told him I loved him and to have a good day as I have so many days since.
Then, as he hesitated, I snapped a picture.
(After writing a first draft of this, I went to my closet and opened a box of pictures looking for this specific one. It came up in the first half-dozen I looked at. That’s miraculous in itself as I’ve not organized them well, if at all. Sure enough, just as I recall.)
Finally, he turned around to walk down the long, long breezeway to his classroom on this first day of kindergarten.
I recall thinking, before ya know it he’ll be graduating from grade school, flying through high school, driving, college, marriage, kids and … who knows.
This is one of those experiences, one of the life stages, that links up neurons into memories. Some make their way into what I call memory bubbles. They’re just there, and they don’t go away. Not even when 12 years separate their creation and now. 12 years.
The thoughts about his future I recall having during his journey to class were fairly accurate. Grade school passed in what seemed like a couple of years. He has one year left in high school, and yes, it’s flying by. Now he’s driving. And, by the way, he made it back with nary a scratch.
The bubbles continue to multiply.
Uncover the significance
If you’ve experienced these life stages, you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve not yet, I hope you get a chance to do so. Don’t let the moments slip by quietly. I’ve missed too many by being too often caught up in myself, in what I was doing, what I was too busy to leave or too self-absorbed to see.
I catch myself doing this still. But, thankfully, a few years with a healthier perspective brings some degree of awareness.
Uncover significance in the moment. Celebrate it. Are there these moments today? Because, as of this moment, today’s all you have. And no matter how many more todays you’re given, they always pass too quickly.
This one’s for me.
You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing.
- James 4:14a (msg)