We ask it, as parents, every time we scroll through the photos on our phones and spot a pic of our little one—two years ago—when he was only 18 months old. Now he will turn 4 years old soon—and off they go to preschool. Wasn’t I just trying to decide if I should have another baby? Wasn’t that “just yesterday?”
We ask it when we see our friend’s kids turning 13 years old on Facebook, and we type out the comment “Where does the time go?”
We ask it when someone recalls a loved one who has passed. Someone will say, “I can’t believe it’s been 5 years now.” Someone else will ask, “5 years? Wow. Where does the time go?”
They turn 2. They turn 5. They turn 10. They turn 16. They turn 20. And they are gone. Where does the time go? I remember when my mother was 45, and when she turned 50 and her 60th Birthday party and when I surprised her and flew into NY when she turned sixty-five and now she just turned seventy-one. Where did the time go?
I remember meeting my husband when I was 14 at a street hockey game. And when we bumped into each other when I was 18, on the street, in New York. I remember when he walked into a bar called “Flannery’s” on 14th Street between 7th and 8th – but closer to 7th and my heart skipped into my throat. I was 21. I remember when we brought daughter number 1 home from the hospital on September 23, 2001, and we took our first family photo. I remember when we went to the Bahamas. I remember when we moved to California. I remember when we cried in Brooklyn over the unexpected death of our friend Eugene. I remember when our first daughter graduated from elementary school. Now, she’s going to High School. Where did the time go?
It’s an age old question. We ask it over and over again throughout our lives.
My grandfather used to say, “Enjoy it. I’m telling you, enjoy it. It goes like this (and he would snap his fingers). Just like that. It’s here, and it’s gone … in the blink of an eye.”
Yes. True. He was here and gone in the blink of an eye. I was 12 when he died.
Are we really asking where the time goes? I am. So I decided I’d figure it out, and I have. Do you want to know where the time goes?
Here’s the way I see it:
When you open your eyes in the morning, and you muster up the energy to move your body into the kitchen and to the coffee maker and you pour yourself a cup of joe … Time. When you’re packing school lunches and feeding the pets and jumping out of your pj’s and into some kinda clothing … Time. When you are pulling the size 5T sweater over your daughter’s head because she is still too little to do it herself … Time. When you are reminding your teenager not to forget that permission slip for the field trip … Time. When you are calling your husband or wife at work to see if he/she paid the water bill … Time. When you’re in the grocery store strolling the aisles, and you’re not buying diapers anymore, and you’re not buying juice boxes anymore, and you’re not buying training pads for the puppy anymore … Time. When you’re doing laundry at your apartment building … Time. When you are folding laundry in the new house, you just bought … Time. When you’re putting the clothes away in the apartment, you moved into after you sold the house you bought …Time.
When you land at JFK … Time. When you walk through New York, and you don’t recognize anyone or anything … Time. When you see your mom and dad, and you’re just so happy, you get one more holiday with them … Time. When you wrap the presents and the little one still believes in Santa … Time. When you slip that last bill under the pillow from the tooth fairy because deep in your heart you know she no longer believes … Time. When you’re carrying the chairs and the towels and the cooler down to the sand, near the water, at the beach and you’re pissed because why can’t your husband park, and carry everything down to the sand at the same time, and you’ve got the kids and your feet are burning … Time. When your High School yearbook falls out of your closet, and you see your face at 17… Time. When you pour yourself a bowl of cereal, and there is no more milk … Time. When you become vegan … Time.
When you eat kale … Time. When you realize that shit is just a trend, and you pull away from the Mc Donald’s drive-thru with 20 nuggets for 5 bucks … Time.
When you score big … Time. When you lose hard … Time. When you laugh with the girls over the idea of presenting an unusual sex toy to the Sharks on Shark tank … Time. When you hang up the phone after a long argument with that one friend who you thought might just be in your life forever … but now you know —friends are not easy to come by … Time. When you’re moving, and all you have is your husband, your kids, and your brother visiting from New York to help you pack … Time. When you realize you have no home because where you come from has disappeared and where you are doesn’t even know you … Time. When you find out your dad has cancer, and you realize he’s in his 70’s – TIME. When 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and even 2014 all feel like the same year to you, and you still write 2009 on your checks, sometimes … Time.
When you see age spots on your hands and convince yourself that it’s sun damage … Time. When you look at baby pictures of your children, and they don’t even resemble those little beings anymore … Time. When you bake the best turkey, you have ever baked for Thanksgiving, and you place it on the counter to cool while you go pee, and when you come back your German Shepherd has devoured it … Time. When your mom crochets you a beautiful quilt for Christmas, and it gets thrown away with the bags and bags of used wrapping paper … Time. When you leave the theater after seeing The Hunger Games, and you look at your phone to see Paul Walker was killed a few hours ago in a car crash … Time. When you sit down to watch the finale of American Idol, and your husband starts singing “A Moment like This …” and your children do not know that Kelly Clarkson was the 1st American Idol winner … Time. When you brush your teeth, and you stare into the sink and you know today is done and tomorrow is coming … Time. When you crawl under the covers and wonder if the wars that wage in other countries will ever wage here … at home and then your remember … they already have and they may again … Time. When you quietly whisper “Now I lay me” just out of habit … Time. When you snuggle up next to your husband or wife and your hearts are beating, and your breathing is in sync … Time. When all the noise drowns out, and it gets very quiet …TIME.
Time. Where does it go? Into every single second … It’s adding up every few minutes. It’s pushing past us every day and every night. It’s in every word we say and every smile we see. It’s all the tears we’ve cried and all the blood we’ve shed. It’s every pet. It’s every child. It’s every woman, and it’s every man. It’s every birth and every death. It’s in the songs we’ve sung, and it’s in the silence of snow. Time does nothing other than go. It goes. It always has, and it always will.
So before you ask that question again … “Where does the time go?” Remember, you already have the answer. The answer is NOW.