All it takes is a few days with the grandkids — sometimes even just a few hours — to be transported back in time even as it lurches forward.
You know, that time, the seemingly never ending stream of jam packed days past, of school and homework, of Little League games and tennis practice, of art shows and dance recitals. They seem like just a blur now, but replay ever more slowly as we relive them with the next generation of little or not so little ones.
Where did the time go, the oft repeated refrain of those of us who are lucky enough to be catapulted back to those frenzied times when parenting seemed to preoccupy our every waking moment, and then some, to now, as we savor each and every car pool, softball practice and impromptu trombone performance and the chance to relive them, ever so fleetingly, through our kids’ kids.
There is a visceral sense of life passing from one generation to another, and then another, to see our children become parents, in some sense a reflection of our past selves looking back at us, even as the images in today’s world are as different as they are the same. Later marriages, delayed pregnancies, two career families turn on a different kind of parenting with more shared responsibility for kids and careers. Women are as comfortable in the news room or court room as the kitchen, men are as adept at making a deal or a closing argument as coaxing a recalcitrant toddler into the bathtub or quieting an overtired little one with a song or a story.
So it goes, as it should, as time passes, and roles and responsibilities shift, as we age and our children grow up. And yet, sometimes, it is incredibly sweet to recall that past which seems now to have slipped by in a few precious moments, and to remember those times as moms and dads, when we had little sense that all too soon we’d be looking at our kids as parents and ourselves as mere reflections of our former selves.
So, as Father’s Day arrives, with its celebration of parenthood, the images collapse, past with present, present with future, as endearing, and enduring, as a quick hug and a kiss from a sweaty kid after a ball game, as a smile of delight on a tiny grandchild’s face smeared with soup as she feeds herself.
So it goes, and so it is, for these grateful grandparents, grand, all grand.
Happy Father’s Day.