I remember my 10th birthday well. My aunt Debbie put both of her hands on my shoulders and looked me straight in the eye. First she congratulated me. “You are now into double digits! Congratulations!” And then she warned me. “From here on out your life will seem to speed up. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.”
And then I blinked. I must have.
Because one day I woke up and everything had changed. My small hometown is big, the strawberry field is a mall and upriver just isn’t that far away anymore. The friends I grew up with couldn’t wait to get out of that small town. And now some can’t wait to get back to it. The brothers I played backyard wiffle ball with and crowded into the back of that old Citation with are now men who have stress and bills and kids. Somewhere along the line my dad stopped driving us kids to practice and started driving a golf ball. Before I blinked my mother had a Kleenex in her pocket and she told me I looked good in the light blue dress because that was my color. After I blinked there was silence. She was gone.
When the husband walked up to me in 1985 he didn’t take his sunglasses off, even though we were indoors. He was tan and lean and confident. He caught my eye and hijacked my heart. And then I blinked and was shocked to find that somehow, 24 years later, 9 houses, 6 states, 6 cars, 13 pets, 2 kids and 20 wedding anniversaries have filled our lives.
It was just yesterday that I tried to keep up with the 2 year old teenager along the frozen Merrimack river in New Hampshire. She yelled, “I go running! I go running!” And then I blinked and she is running the hurdles at the Jr. High and nobody can keep up with her.
And it was just yesterday that the giggling toddler boy begged to be pushed higher on the swing. And then I blinked and he’s begging to go on the looping roller coasters and wants to know how old he has to be before he can bungee jump.
Next week I will walk up to the boy and put both of my hands on his shoulders. I will look him straight in the eye and say, “Happy 10th birthday! You are now into double digits! From here on out your life will seem to speed up. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.”
I swear he was just born.
I remember my 40th birthday well. For on that milestone day last week I stared at myself in the mirror, eyes wide open, and I willed myself not to blink.
Check This Out!
When I was 10 my favorite treat was a Mountain Bar candy bar. I've recently rediscovered the Mountain Bar and am happy to report that the Mountain Bar is one thing in life that hasn't changed. You should go get one now.