If a picture is worthy of a thousand words, we are in for trouble because I was unable to take a picture this morning of what I am about to share with you. Oh don’t worry. I am not going to use a thousand words. It will be 500 max…give or take a few.
I went for a walk around our neighborhood this morning and thanks be to God, I can walk more briskly on this knee that has been giving me fits. It’s not that it is healed or improved, it’s just the doctor told me what the problem is and exercise won’t damage it so I push through now.
For quite a distance I watched a young mom with her two little ones. Mom was pushing some kind of riding vehicle and big brother was pedaling, sometimes ahead, sometimes behind her on his small bike with training wheels.
In between them was the free spirit of a little sister.
The wind was billowing a small pink circlet of fabric around her arms and up and down as she toddled next to her mom and the thing she was probably supposed to be riding on to make life easier for the trio.
I thought at first it was a pink boa, but as I began to catch up to them I could see it was her sweater. Her arms were completely free and she was holding the cuffs in her hands while the rest of the garment waved merrily behind her.
It was no small irony that I was able to gain on them given my age and various aches and pains and I thought how strange our seasons are. A year ago, as I limped along with a swollen knee, they would have been the ones to pass me.
As I neared the corner to our neighborhood, the cyclist appeared to be maneuvering a u-turn and sure enough mom and sis were also turning themselves around for the return trek homeward.
She probably thought I was nuts but I couldn’t resist speaking to her, grateful for the sunglasses that hid the tears brimming in my eyes.
I told her good job, mom, and how precious it was to see them and that these are good days even if they are long sometimes. I told her son I loved his Pound Puppy helmet and I bid them adieu.
But what I didn’t tell her was to cherish each moment because the years have wings.
I didn’t tell her that not only did she remind me of my own long days of raising littles that flew by in a series of snail’s pace moments like this, but now I am past character helmets with our fourth grandchild.
I can’t keep up with them and the days of a slow stroll or pushing an empty cart or stroller while the passenger patters along beside us are long gone.
I didn’t tell her that when she realizes no one asks to be carried anymore there will be a pang in the heart for there is nothing quite like supporting the weight of a child with their sweaty arms tangled in your hair and their heads close enough to breath in the scent of childhood.
I didn’t tell her, but I am telling you.
If you are in the thick of it, it passes.
Far faster than you can even imagine.
And while there will be parts you gladly wave farewell to, in your heart you will carry a longing for just a few minutes to slowly walk at a toddler’s pace and watch your big boy pedal that bike as it totters on the helped wheels.
God bless you all wherever you are on the journey. It truly is a heartbeat long <3