“I’ll be 9, which is almost 10, which is practically a teenager…so don’t call me little…”
That is how some of the conversation at our house has gone recently.
“Whoa! Slow down there partner, you’re still 8 right now, and you will never have the chance to be 8 years old again, so make sure you REALLY enjoy these next couple of days. And when you turn 9, don’t rush into teenager. Enjoy being 9; it only comes around once in a lifetime.”
My husband’s employer recently held its annual holiday celebration. Perfect timing actually—a little pick-me-up after the January doldrums. It was an amazing evening with much good company, great food , lots of laughter and great music provided by a Madison-based band called Midlife Crisis.
My husband talked about how the music was that of “our generation”…his actually. I’m two years younger, which makes me not a baby boomer (but not quite a Gen-Xer either—some would call me a “tweener”). I came up in the MTV generation: Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart Unplugged; I didn’t hear any Rod Stewart this weekend. We did get a little Clapton though.
Bedtime stories were read. My daughter was snuggled happily under the covers. The lights were out, and I was lying next to her, holding her as we looked at her brand new Cinderella light. Glitter swirled and twinkled in the blue light, scattering patterns on the ceiling.
“Did you have a good day today?” I asked.
“Oh, Mama, it was the best birthday ever! And I want to stay up all night looking at my Cinderella light.”
I smiled. “It is beautiful. It reminds me of when I was younger and I would spend countless hours daydreaming by the Christmas tree, looking at the patterns the lights made on the ceiling.”
Children embrace their birthdays with such enthusiasm. They are excited to celebrate their day with their friends and family. They are excited to celebrate and share the joy of their lives with the people they love.
While my daughter’s thoughts probably drifted to dreams of princesses, fancy dresses and towering castles, my thoughts drifted to “birthdays” and the differences in the way children and adults view their special day.
You may think that I’m talking foolish
You’ve heard that I’m wild and I’m free
You may wonder how I can promise you now
This love that I feel for you always will be
Somehow in Texas country music sounds better than it does anywhere else. It belongs. I was living in Texas when I first heard the Randy Travis song “Forever and Ever, Amen”. Once for fun, I sent it to a local radio station to play to mark my parent’s 30th wedding anniversary. I never really thought about the words of that song again until recently. That particular song may be kind of sentimental, but to me it expresses perfectly something that I have learned about my father over the last few years, and I have trouble finding other words that express the feeling as well. Continue reading “A Father’s Example”
Okay here’s the deal. Working up “a good sweat” does not make me feel good. It makes me feel sweaty. I don’t like public showers. And my idea of well spent leisure time involves curling up with a good book, sitting down to write or knitting and chatting with friends. That is who I am.
But I am also overweight, have lousy lipid values and a family history of diabetes.
Or at least that’s the perception. You can ask just about anybody in any culture, east or west, and you will find that everyone agrees: time seems to go by much faster as we age. I recently heard a radio interview with David Eagleman of Baylor University College of Medicine, and he has a theory about this. He thinks that when we are young most of our experiences are new, and our brains are writing down every detail, forming neural networks to record all the details of the experience for future reference. And, when the future comes, our brains reference the previous experience. “Oh I know about this,” and the second, third and fourth similar experiences don’t get recorded in such detail. That lack of time spent recording the experiences makes it seem like the experiences didn’t last as long when we look back on them.
For instance, Eagleman said, “think about your first kiss.” So I did think back to my high school days, and I do remember the details. Where it happened, what it felt like, what he was wearing, how totally underwhelmed I was. And it did seem like the kiss took a very long time.
And, the first day you drive to work at a new company, the commute always lasts longer than it does at the end of your first year on that job.
Summers used to last forever too. And so did the school year.
I recently had a birthday, which means I have become somewhat of an expert at birthdays, having celebrated my fair share of them. I haven’t had nearly as many as my brother and sister, evidenced by the fact that I can still remember their birthdays (ahem, ahem). However, as usual, it is my toddler-aged daughter who has managed to teach me something about birthdays.
First, to quote her “I like candles”.
She’s right. Candles are cool. You can light them, turn off the overhead lamps, and the sparkle of the candle light reflects in the smiling eyes of the people you love who have gathered around to wish you well on your special day.