Last night, Carson had her very first babysitting job. About two months ago, she took a six-hour babysitting class through Parma Hospital. The students were taught emergency care, basic care, and they role played to make sure they could handle any situation. She received a certificate, and for two months, she has been begging me to beg my friends to give her a chance at babysitting. That chance came last night.
She babysat for Scott’s boys. She was determined to do a good job. She made me go to Michael’s this week to buy a craft; she studied superheroes on the Internet so she could engage them in conversation; she mentally prepared herself for some heated games of Memory and Chutes and Ladders. We talked about making sure plates were put in the sink, keeping the house neat, and checking on the boys after they went to sleep. She was ready, although I do not know if I was. I know she is a mature, well-rounded young lady, but it is hard for me to fathom that this person who is my child has grown up so much. The child for whom I hired babysitters is now being hired as a babysitter by other people. I cannot lie, I texted her about ten times through the course of the evening to see how it was going. Each time she texted that things were good and that they were having fun.
When Tom went to pick her up, Scott told Tom that earlier that day, he spoke with his mother, and he told her about their evening out. Because they rely on Grandma and Grandpa a great deal, she was kind of shocked that she had not heard about this evening yet.
“Who’s babysitting?” she asked.
“Carson, Cheryl’s daughter,” he told her.
“Cheryl’s daughter? How old is she?”
“She’s almost twelve.” He said she didn’t say anything for a few seconds. She was processing the past, processing the present.
“I cannot believe Cheryl has a daughter old enough to babysit. Where has the time gone?”
When Tom came home and told me this story, I laughed, yet, I felt a twang of sorrow. Where has the time gone?
I spend so much time thinking about the future that I do not know if I pay attention to all of the moments. I get so absorbed thinking about getting to the next stage of life, I do not always savor the present.
“When Lizzie is a little older…”
“When Carson is in high school…”
“When we can afford a bigger house…”
Regretfully, I am unsure that I truly take stock each day. Wasn’t it just yesterday that Carson was losing her first tooth, starting school, learning how to ride a bike?
It is not just having kids that makes time seem so evasive. I think back to when Scott and I became friends, and it seems like it was just yesterday. That is, if just yesterday was 1995. It is funny, when I talk to my students, many of them are born after this time. To them, life started in 1995 or 1996. For me, life was in full-swing.
I think I understand why people say time flies. It is not that it moves any faster than it ever has, it is just as I get older, I am more aware of it. I am more aware that some moments are momentous and they will only happen once. As a child, I did not have this insight because thousands of meaningful, memorable moments were in my future. I did not think much about getting my eighth grade diploma, for example, because I still had high school. I did not think much about my high school diploma because I was heading off to college. I did not think much about my college diploma because I was entering the real world. I did not see each of these occasions as crossing over a threshold into a new stage, leaving behind someone I no longer was.
Thus, last night Carson crossed over the bridge and became a little bit more adult-like. She has entered into a new sophisticated world where she makes money of her own. She is growing up.
So yes, some of the time has gone, but hopefully, I am wise enough to realize that all of the moments in my future decades do matter, and I will celebrate each and every one.