“We always think there’s enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like ‘if’.” ~ Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove
Day 353. Yesterday, LilG turned fourteen.
Like all parents say when they realize their baby is no longer a baby, I say it now as well: “I cannot believe it.”
For me, there are four distinctive markers of passing time:
Watching my baby girl transform into a young woman.
The name LilG does not apply anymore. She is much taller than I am. She surpassed me when she was twelve. Her transformation, of course, is not just physical. She is more thoughtful now than she was, no longer having the typical selfish, youthful whims. She has become a planner and thinks about the future. The biggest sign of her transition from being a child and into the stages of young adulthood is her acknowledgement that all [of her] actions have consequences, good or bad, and she has to act in the manner appropriate to bring about the desired outcome.
Seeing my parents growing older.
My father will turn eighty-three this year, and my mother will turn seventy-nine. Thankfully, they are both in really great health, mentally and physically, and aside from the normal limitations of their age, they are still active in body and sharp in mind. However, because they live on the other side of the world and because I have not seen them in nearly two years due to the pandemic, it is still a bit jarring to see their faces on video chat and to realize that how I have them pictured in my mind and in my memories, is not how they actually are in reality. At the risk of sounding morbid, they are both at an age where one starts to wonder how much [good] time they really have left.
Experiencing the natural decaying process of my own aging body.
Over the years, I have come to accept that my body no longer functions the way that it did when I was in my twenties. If I am being honest, I will say that it does not even function the way it did when I was in my thirties, or even early forties. Every year that passes by, I lose half a step, and another joint cracks or is in pain.
Realizing that many people who I love are no longer here on Earth.
This one hits the hardest. My beloved sister passed away twenty-one years ago this month. Twenty-one years. She will have been gone longer than she was alive. I have lost other people in my life, important people to me, whose absences still create a hole in my soul. When I think of them and how long they have been gone, the reality of time cuts even deeper.