Let's actually try to do one of these on a Friday. This was originally posted (less a couple of edits) May 1, 2005:
One of the sad things about life to me is seeing my parents get older. There is not really one specific event or moment to which I could point. It is more of a gradual thing, I think. One day I just woke up and saw it, and wondered where in the world all the time had gone.
My sister and Mom went to Nashville shopping this past week. I was talking to my sister on the phone that night and she said something I had thought to myself several times before. "Mom is getting old." I believe my response was something to the effect of, "Yeah, I know."
I know that my parents are not old old. They both turn 56 this year. Then I think about people who have already lost one or both parents, or people who never even knew one or both parents. And I think, "Who am I to be sad?"
But I guess we all go thru different situations at different times. I just see differences in my parents now and from ten and fifteen years ago. And I know that is completely natural and to be expected. But it still makes me a little bit sad.
When I think about it, it makes me miss family vacations of long ago. Mom and Dad taking me to little league baseball games. Playing football or basketball in the backyard. I miss being outside and hearing Mom or Dad call me in for supper. With the whole family sitting around the table. I suppose that anything you look back on fondly, and then realize it will never be again, makes you a little bit sad.
When you are young, you think that things will last forever. Or maybe it is that you do not yet have a complete concept of time. All you are concerned about is today. And everything that is here today you just take for granted will be here tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow, and the day after that, and so on.
And when you are young, you do not really have a care in the world to amount to anything. Your parents can seemingly do anything, take care of any problem. They seem invincible. Then one day there's that instant when you realize they can't protect you from everything. They won't always be there. There are some problems they can't fix. Another bit of innocence is stolen by the real world.
You realize that they are only human. As they get older, that only becomes clearer. Perhaps it is not just my parents getting older that makes me sad. Perhaps it is more than that. A longing for a past that always seems better now than it seemed way back then.
So what do you do? What do I do? I guess the obvious answer is to spend more time with the ones we love. Cherish each moment we have together. We never know when someone we care about will be taken away. I know that is so cliched, but I think it is very good advice.
I think back to so many weekend nights when I was young and my parents and I would go out to eat. Many times on the way home, I would sit in the back seat and look out the back window up at the moon and the stars and the clouds.
And I would always be a little sad. I would beg for us to go by and see one of my aunts or uncles. Something, anything, so that we could stay out a little longer. I never wanted the evening to end.
And now, all these years later, I guess I still don't.
"What I'd give to have back all those long afternoons, I wasted being bored..."