The greatest pleasure, the greatest pain

My son turned 6 today. We had a party at out house. Rainforest theme, 15 kids, a cake made by the wife (see above). It was wonderful and fantastic and thrilling, and the boy truly had a great time. Hence, I had a great time.

And yet, whenever I stop to watch my kids grow, I am hit by shockingly powerful conflicted feelings. On the one hand, it’s a beautiful thing, to witness the day-by-day development. I am very fortunate to work from home, which means the tiny little changes (word choices; loose teeth, new friends, etc) are generally perceptible. It’s exhilarating, how they morph so fast; so profoundly. I mean, it truly does seem like my son arrived just, oh, two years ago. But six? No way. No, no, no, no way.

And that, in a nutshell, is the heartbreaking part. Pre-kids, there were ways to measure the passing of time, but they weren’t especially profound or noticeable. Now, all I do is notice. To be a parent is to be reminded … every … friggin’ … day how fast it all goes. I remember, nine years ago, when my daughter was born, and every other veteran parent warned me to pay attention and watch closely (or else you’ll miss it). Well, I have paid attention and watched closely—and it’s still bolting past. My daughter is in fourth grade, and it’s been a blink. In two more years, she’ll be in middle school (blink). High school (blink). College (blink). I used to look at senior citizens … well, actually, I never looked at senior citizens. At least I never really considered how they go there. But now I think about it all the time. I’m 40. Soon I’ll be 50. Then, if I’m fortunate, 80. My kids will have left me long ago. I’m sitting in my nursing home room, being served pea soup.

I’m going … going …