Ever forward, creeps the future.
But does so slowly. Unnoticed.
You think "Tomorrow will be the same thing as today, as yesterday was. Nothing really changes." But each new day connects to the one before it, with its tiny alterations. The days start to add up. And so go the weeks. And the months. And the years. As the song says, they start coming and they don't stop.
And by the time you step aside and take stock, fifteen years have gone by, and your baby is now on the brink of sixteen. He's sprouted mustache hairs.
And his voice dropped an octave. I didn't particularly notice that, until the end of last summer. One evening his mom and I were out on an evening walk around the neighborhood, and she got a call. I could overhear the caller - it was some man. Her responses were brief and direct. But when the caller said "when do you think you'll be home?" I then realized that "man" was my kid. I struggled with the notion that the little boy, whose voice very recently had been pitched up to the soprano of an eight-year-old, is now speaking in the basso profundo of an established adult.
We've already established him in his first year of high school. His report cards show huge improvements in his efforts and his output, and all his teachers agree he's on track for graduating with excellent grades. He is looking into getting his learner's permit now, too. The kid that was in a booster seat such a short time ago is eager to start driving.
His sisters have all moved out on their own, and they're doing very well: One has been working for several months at a local pizza restaurant (with prospects for becoming management on the fast track), another is gaining momentum in retail sales, and the third is finishing up her second year at a theatrical supply company.
Life has changed immensely since those days when Michael was knocking people silly with his head or pulling the guinea pig cage off the table, or when the girls were fighting over the computer or having screaming meltdowns over doing their homework. Those days my wife and I collapsed into bed at the end of each day, utterly exhausted. Our house regularly looked like a war zone. We ran the dishwasher twice a day, and never caught up on the laundry.
Now, our house remains relatively tidy, and enjoys periods of near silence.
For me, the next phase includes finally completing those home improvement projects I've put off for decades, and shifting gears into a more relaxed, uncluttered, uncomplicated lifestyle.
I'm hoping my wife and I get a chance to travel a bit before the grandkids come along.