I was relaxing at the pool this afternoon when a friend of my daughter’s walked past and we began chatting. She’d been recruited as a Division 1 athlete five years ago, and had recently graduated from college. She told me about her successful seasons as an athlete; her relationship with her roommate–also an athlete but in a different sport–her choice of major; her brother’s new job… and all the while, I was envisioning this young woman as an eight-year-old.
At the school she attended with my daughter, nursery and kindergarden were “down the hill” and elementary grades were in the larger building “up the hill.” On the way home from the same pool, a few days before the start of my daughter’s first grade year “up the hill,” she had insisted we walk the campus so she could show her where the main entrance was located, where her classroom would be and give her the 411 on who the best teachers were. Speaking with her today–an elegant and eloquent young woman with a sculpted athletic body and a look of drive and determination–it was easy for me to see the feisty kid determined to share her knowledge of all things first grade and beyond. It struck me how many years had passed since that warm August afternoon, and how I’d failed to notice so many of the details that made up those 10 plus years.
As I watch my children and their friends evolve into mature and responsible creatures, I wonder what I will see 10 years or more from now. Will my daughter, the bride, still look like the anxious girl completing her college applications, or will she have a worldliness that comes from experiences of successes and failures? Will her brother retain the look of a boy obsessed with sports and video games, or will his mature face be one of a man with age and wisdom on his side?
When I look in the mirror now, I still (choose to) see myself as I was 10 or 15 years ago. At what point in our lives do we see ourselves as the world sees us, or do we ever get to that point?
Returning to my chaise, it dawned on me that the next 10 years will likely pass faster than the previous years, and if I really want to experience them fully, and notice the details and nuances that make up our daily lives, I better start paying attention today.