'Where Does The Time Go?' is what I've been thinking as I pour over eighteen years of photos to fill a memory book I'm preparing for my daughter's graduation gift. Looking back at the photos of her as a baby, then a toddler, then a preschooler, and so on and so on, has made me wonder how eighteen years could have passed by in what seems like the blink of an eye.
My daughter was born just as digital cameras were making their debut - we didn't own one at that time, because they cost a fortune, and the photo quality was similar to that of Impressionist art. Because of this, I had to search my printed photos box for a newborn photo. I found the one I remembered. It had been carefully glued to the first page of the a paper memory book I had begun to make, shortly after my daughter's birth.
The memory book I had begun was beautiful. The text was hand-written, using stencils. There were hand-drawn embellishments adorning each page. Each photo was carefully glued in place, and a frame was drawn around it. Turning each page, I was quite pleased with my work, and wondered where I had found the time to put this together. Until I got to the end of my not-quite-finished book, which was the page showing my baby bundled into her car seat for the first time, ready to go home from the hospital. Yes, that's right! I had made it to two days old! The most amazing thing is that I had put together eight pages to document two days of life.
That's when I began to think about how when our babies are very new, we count days. And we are in awe at all that happens on any given day. As time passes, and our babies grow, we start to count things in weeks, then months, then years. Perhaps this is because meaningful change seems to occur only in those longer time frames than it does in the early days of one's life.
And that seemed sad to me.
We as a people are always lamenting how little time we have. How we have so much to do, and so little time to do it, despite the fact that we always seem to be doing something. And yet, when asked what we've done, we tend to think we've done nothing much at all.
And that seems sadder to me.
This idea of the passing of time has turned my thoughts to appreciating time in smaller increments, as we do when our babies are new. To recognize things changing around us all the time - the sun rising and later setting, the moon and stars brightening the night sky, cloud patterns forming, grass growing, birds singing, flowers blooming, trees leafing, food smelling and tasting delicious, a child's song filling the air and her dance bringing a smile, a dog's gentle breathing as she sleeps at your feet, a husband's arm resting on yours as you drift off to sleep, . . .
Where does the time go? If we view life through the lens through which we view the life of a newborn, rejoicing in the beauty and joy of each moment, as if it were new, we will know that the time is always present.
author of "JOY"