I remember being a kid, and having "old people" (read: friends of my parents, who were just about my age now) say things to me like, "My goodness, you're getting so big," or, "I can't believe how time flies. I remember when you were only this tall." (You know the drill, with the hand held out somewhere around their hip.)
At any rate, I've realized something. They were right. "Time does fly," and, "Life is short," and, "Kids do grow up too fast!"
Today is my son's birthday. It follows on the heels of his younger sister's just two weeks ago. His older sister's will be here two months from now. It is birthday season in our home.
And my kids are growing up fast. Today my son is twelve. It is the first birthday when he is taller than I am. It is the first birthday for a boy with the initial beginnings of the physical signs of puberty. (His ten-year old younger sister, too!) Next year, he will likely smile at me through peach fuzz and greet me with a crack in his voice. The "baby" in the family is seven, for crying out loud.
And so we celebrate. Each birthday, the honored one chooses the food for each meal. This morning we shared sausage-and-egg casserole and "monkey balls." (Two weeks ago it was tropical fruit salad and cheese danish.) The traditions live on. We work hard to carve the memories deep so they'll stand the ravages of time. Soon they'll leave our sides and no longer will I cook their birthday favorites for them. But for now, for today, while we are still all here together, we'll eat a picnic lunch at Mount Trashmore. We'll sing "Happy Birthday" again over cheesecake after the chosen dinner of London Broil, baked rice, grilled veges, and salad.
As I sit here typing, waiting to head downstairs and put the picnic potato salad together, I think of that "Butterfly Kisses" song by Bob Carlisle. Though it is about a daughter, I hear the lyrics of the bridge in my head every time I get wistful about these fleeting years I'm privileged to experience:
All the precious time. Like the wind, the years go by. Precious butterfly. Spread your wings and fly.
Too soon, it will happen. But for today, there are no tears. Just sesame chicken strips with honey mustard sauce at Kids Cove...