I recently had the opportunity to view some self-portrait photos of a couple dear friends through the magic of flickr and I was struck by how "grown up" they appear. And then there was this mental avalanche in my brain that brought down all the walls that hold back my own self-realization.
My GOD...I'm 36! THIRTY-SIX! I'm a LAWYER! I've been pregnant FOUR times! I have gray hairs! I own a house and a car and am RESPONSIBLE for living creatures! HOLY @^#!
Most of the time when I look around me, the things I see don't really register with my brain. And then sometimes I look around and I am completely astounded by the realities of my life. When did that tree grow to completely cover the end of the barn? How did EVERY SINGLE FLAT SURFACE in my house get covered with dust and crap? When did those wrinkles appear in the crook of my arm?
As I was driving to the store with my sons yesterday, lamenting the fact that it took us over an hour to go to the library, the post office and the recycling drop-off, I started to think about how it used to be running my errands without little people slowing me down. For some reason, that made me think about what it will be like to be able to do that again when the boys are older. Like a runaway train, my brain couldn't be stopped and I realized that Sam is six years old. SIX! Assuming he goes off to live on his own (even if just to college) at age 18, I have already lived one-third of the time that we will live together as a family under one roof. I looked at old pictures...one year...two years...three years...four years...five years...six. I can see the baby disappear and the boy emerge. How did that happen? I imagine a day when the boy will be gone and a man will stand in his place. Yet I don't often feel it.
Don't get me wrong...I have felt very old at times (I'm told grief will do that to you). But as time moves on I'm better able to compartmentalize again and (temporarily) forget my own truths for longer spans of time. I wonder if this is how it will always be or if I will, at some point, actually view the world through the passage of time...if I will once and for all realize (and feel) my age.