If Only Time Stood Still
By Paula Schmitt
When I was a young child I remember hearing grown-ups talk
about time slipping through their hands and how time flies. I didn't
understand what they meant and how time could actually fly. Part of the
beauty and innocence of being a child is their carefree ways and simply
living for the moment. That was me as a child and I remember it well.
As I approached my wonderful teenage years my parents
actually held on tight not wanting to let me grow up and venture out. You
would think with all the hell I raised that they would have my bags packed
and ready to go. Not my parents. They were enjoying and holding on to
every single minute with their young daughter before letting her go. Of
course, I did not understand this at the time, how could I, I was a young,
rebellious woman, still carefree and ready to adventure out into the
world. I did not see that my parents were still clinging to sweet memories
of me as a child, their only daughter, and that they loved me.
Years have passed and time moves on as expected. I got
married, as my parents prayed that I would, and now have a family of my
own. From the time I held my first born son in my arms I started to
realize what my parents were feeling. Even though my precious baby was
just minutes into this world I couldn't bear the thought of him growing up
and leaving me. Silly, I know, to be having such thoughts when your child
is all wrinkly and new, but now as a parent, those thoughts were real.
When my son Tony was seven we lived in a small, friendly
neighborhood that we were very comfortable in. He wanted to show his three
younger brothers how grown up he really was, mind you, he was all of seven
years old. He called us all outside to watch his dare devil event. He was
going to ride his two-wheeler down the street and back. Not just in
circles in front of our home, but down the street! How adorable. How
This same child, only three years later, wanted to drive
his father's pick-up truck. Seriously. We would find him out in the
driveway in the driver's seat ready to go. Minus the car keys obviously.
How could this be happening to me? My baby is growing up. He wants to grow
up. I realize
how time is passing so quickly and not only are my
children growing up but that I am getting older. Could this be a good
thing? I try not to think about it but as I see my children wanting to
experiment with riding their bikes further away from their homes and
jumping in to their father's truck and getting behind the wheel pretending
to be driving away, I can feel that I 'm starting to hold on a bit
tighter. I have become my parents.
Now my baby, Tony, is sixteen years old, a junior in high
school, actually driving his father's pick-up truck with the keys. He's
even been dating the same girl for over a year. I feel so old. Wasn't I
just sixteen, ready to conquer the world? Time's flying.
My son Nick, who is fifteen, is taking Drivers Ed class at
school. My God, not another child ready to drive away in his father's
My son Phillip who just turned twelve is starting to get
phone calls from girls. Yikes! Not my innocent, sweet Phillip. He is still
just a little boy. My little boy. I don't want him to grow up. We had a
conversation the other day and it went something like this.
I was at my desk working at my computer and he entered the
"Hey, Mom. Do you think I could go on your computer in a
few minutes?" he asked while shuffling his feet and looking down.
"Sure. What's up?" I asked.
"Well, Katie and Olivia are going to be on IM and we're
going to chat." He replied blushing three shades of red.
My grip is getting tighter. With each day I can feel it. I
know I should be a cool, hip and groovy Mom, but it's just not that easy.
What am I going to do after my children are all grown up and out of the
home? I'm not saying that my husband is a bore or my life is dull, it's
just that I'm used to picking up legos and matchbox race cars. I'm used to
making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cutting them in half, and
I'm definitely in the habit of tucking my children into bed at night and
telling them how much I love them.
My youngest son, Joseph, who just had a birthday a few
weeks ago and is nine years old, came to me yesterday and matter-of-factly
stated that he is going to be a professional basketball player in the NBA.
I don't doubt it as this child was born with a basketball in his hands. I
couldn't help but smile and give him a great big hug. He didn't want to be
He pulled away from me and asked, "Mom, NBA basketball
players don't hug their moms do they?"
I took him in my arms and replied, "Yes, Joseph, they most
I'm still holding on today.
Paula Schmitt is a writer and mother of five children living in
Vermont. Her columns and essays have appeared in several publications.
Paula's non-fiction book, Living In A Locker Room: A Mom's Tale Of Survival In A Houseful Of Boys will be available May of 2005. Email her at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her at
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