Saturday, March 4, 2017

Time: It's All Relative

     A post from fellow blogger Dr. Kathy McCoy called Parents of Adult Children: Can You Hear Yourself? prompted me to start thinking about my own children and how they have changed . . . or how they have not changed in my mind.

     You see, as I admitted, I have a particular problem with time, because try as I might, I refuse to believe that my kids have grown up. I think my 33-year-old daughter is still 18 . . . actually about 16. No, really about 14. That would put my 30-year-old son back in middle school. Yeah, that seems about right.

     Does that make sense to you?

     Then there are my parents. They died just a couple of years ago. But actually, my dad died 15 years ago, and my mother passed away 17 years ago.

     How can that be, when they are so clear and present in my mind? Why, just the other night I had a dream about my dad. He was standing in a line ahead of me, and for some reason he had his shirt off. He was that same old skinny guy with a little pot belly from spending too much time sitting behind a desk and not enough time in the gym. Actually, not any time in the gym. Dads did not go to the gym back then.

     It does seem like I got divorced quite some time ago. It feels like I've been single for a long time. Then I met B, just a couple of years ago. We've really only just started dating. And here we have . . . uh, well, actually, when I count it up, we've been going out for almost 15 years and we've been living together for a decade.

     B and me an old married couple? Never!

     B does sometimes keep me connected to reality, though. She recently pointed out that the brand new golf shirt I won when my son was a freshman in college is a little frayed around the cuffs and has developed a hole in the elbow. When I reminded her that this is the new shirt I won by coming in fourth in the parent/student golf tournament, she showed me the insignia printed right there on the front:  Bucknell Golf Club 75th Anniversary: 1930 - 2005.

     "Exactly," I said. "See, it's from 2005." It my mind 2005 is, like, two years ago.

     For the most part my problem in marking the passage of time is a harmless disability. But it did get me in a little trouble this morning. You see, B and I are staying with my daughter, who now lives in North Carolina, on the way home from our trip south. So I was making coffee and looked in her refrigerator for some milk. I found an open half gallon sitting there with an expiration date of 2/25/17. That's ridiculous, I thought. And so I threw the milk down the kitchen drain and tossed the container in the garbage.

     "Dad, what are you doing?" challenged my daughter as she walked into the kitchen.

     "Just getting rid of this old milk," I said. "It's past expiration date."

     "Dad, that milk was fine. It's organic, and it lasts at least a week past its expiration date." Then she looked at me. "Anyway," she said almost apologetically, "you should ask before you just throw something away."

     "Oh, right," I replied. "I'm sorry." But what I thought was: What does she know? She's only 14!

28 comments:

Bob Lowry said...

I had a similar reaction just last week. I am about to begin teaching a 4th grade Junior Achievement class at a nearby school. I have never taught in front of 26 squirming kids, so I am a bit apprehensive. I really, really want to ask my school-teacher mom about this experience.

In my mind I was thinking, "darn, I just missed the chance to ask mom about this." Well, she died 7 years ago so that window has been closed for quite some time. In my mind, though I felt I had just missed the chance to have her help me.

Funny how we compress or expand time to fit a need or perception.

gigihawaii said...

I would have thrown it out, too. Ugh. Old milk. Yuck.

Celia said...

Every time I drive up the Columbia Gorge from Portland OR to home in Walla Walla I see things and think I should ask Dad about that. My go-to naturalist. But he's been gone since 2002. But I think it's because of good memories.

DJan said...

You said it all in this post. I cannot believe how quickly the years and decades fly past these days. Y2K was... a while ago, it seems, but to me I remember the event like yesterday. Seventeen years ago? How can that be? :-)

Terra Hangen said...

This is a fun post; I have some of the same reactions and thoughts.

Stephen Hayes said...

Ha! Love that last line. Great post all parents of adult children can relate to.

MaryAnn said...

They seem to be able to take care of themselves but I am not sure they are old enough to raise my grandson.

Barbara Torris said...

Oh dear. We are "take charge" kind of people living in a world where we reminded time and again to remember "who is in charge!" I always think "What? You mean I'm not in charge?" :)

Who knew?

retirementreflections said...

Time is incredibly relative. This makes total sense to me.
PS - I too would have thrown the milk away!

Janette said...

Great post. I can so relate.
Something happened at Church the other day. I asked, "Where is an elder?" The person looked at me! Oh yes, I am supposed to be the elder, the pillar? Why would I ever want that type of title? I like being the young adult trying to change those people! As much as I think of my kids as young twenties, I think of myself as young thirties! (My mom has finally conceded that she is celebrating her 27th anniversary of her 60th birthday!)

Tom Sightings said...

Oh boy, we haven't even gotten to the grandchild stage yet, altho' it's soon to be upon us. That's got to be a whole other kind of time warp. As for who's in charge, it seems to me that when we were in charge we were hardly aware of it; we just did it. And now, I'm beginning to realize, it's someone else's turn.

Anonymous said...

I too am in a similar time warp. My oldest is almost 33, and I swear he just graduated from college. My middle son is approaching 28, and I think he must be in high school, while the "baby" is almost 25! Wasn't he just in that high school band performance? But while their lives have moved forward, I seem to be living a "ground hog day" type of existence . There is some comfort in my daily routine, albeit I seem to be missing the 3 important cogs that kept my life moving. I so relate to this post! Thank you Tom! Sherri

Still the Lucky Few said...

I loved my children's developmental stages! When I look back (many, many years), those were the best times of my life. I was filled with wonder about how they changed into the amazing people they now are. But there is a sadness to this too. Can't roll back the clock—I know that. But I'm trying hard to maintain some of the memories. Writing helps, so I try to record some of those experiences in my work.

Barbara said...

Funny, I couldn't wait for my kids to grow-up. I really enjoyed their teen years and now our oldest grandson is 15! How in the world did that happen? I wish I'd been blogging back when my kids were teens, I'm sure they probably wouldn't speak to me now if I had, though. ;)
Great post!
b

Anonymous said...

Our only will be 40 in early November I can remember her 3rd birthday distinctly. She was the baby in the neighborhood now she will turn 40 well ahead of her childhood friends due to the fact she could not go to school until she was almost 6 a law I think that has changed, but she zoomed into classes and got promoted and ended up with a different set of childhood friends those who are 40 already and will turn 40 this year only she graduated in 1996 from high school and those kids graduated in 1994 and 1995..life is a total crap shoot, people she thought cool in high school well they were only cool in junior high and high school they are not cool anymore and the square kids who were just like here are spectacular I told her if you peak in high school that is the only peak you will ever climb and that is true, time whizzes by indeed! My mother in law passed in December right before Christmas in 2000 and our only graduated the day before we will always remember no Hanukkah and or Christmas celebrations and we had to defer her graduation party until feb of 2001, but we did and she was happy as a clam..ciao!

Linda Myers said...

I totally get it! I'm traveling to Greece later this month with my 37-year-old son James. I will have to keep my mouth shut many times!

I have memories of my kids when they were very little, and of course they don't. Just by opening my mouth about those times I can give them brand new memories!

Olga Hebert said...

Oh, boy, I was just giving myself a stern lecture about it being time to admit my kids are adults earlier today.
This post struck a chord.

Jono said...

Time used to flow like a river, all orderly and in the same direction. Now it is just like another drop in a bucket. It all blends together in one nebulous mess. Today is only yesterday's tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

What a funny post about adult children...quite in contrast to the post at one of your other "Adult voices - Thrifty at Sixty"....

Gabbygeezer said...

We often refer to "the kids" when discussing our son and his fiancee. Lee is 56 and Karen is 51. I think we do fairly well treating them as adults, but the perception of a little boy and girl lingers in our minds.

Mona McGinnis said...

I'm reminded of a time ~15 yrs ago. I was with my dad, cleaning the cemetery. He was looking at his father's grave, shaking his head. He said that when his dad died, he thought he was an old man. He was you kids' age (45ish). We will always be the kids and they will always be the parents. And now I have grandchildren of my own. One day I told my granddaughters that I was a young girl once. The youngest laughed and said - And now you're just Brama Nona.

plynjyn said...

I was surprised to see that your son attended Bucknell. Was Brad Tufts part of your tournament? He used to be the golf coach and my boss in the Public Relations Department at Bucknell. I also worked in the Admissions Office on Saturdays.

I will become a first time grandmother in August. During Trump's first ban, I was upset that my daughter took a sudden trip to Montana from Charlotte to visit her father when the demonstrators could do unpredictable things. Then I remembered she is 31 years old and can make her own decisions.

Sally Wessely said...

Tom, I just got a message from you on Facebook which seems like it is a scam. Did you recently send me a friend request on FB? Thanks. Sally

Sally Wessely said...

I can relate! I am the very same way. One time a granddaughter told me I had been wearing a swimsuit cover forever. I thought about it and realized I had been wearing it since before she was born! In fact, many things in my wardrobe are as old as my grandchildren. They are teens, but I think of them as my babies. Oh, and my hubby and I are really just newlyweds. I know we will celebrate our 25th this year, but I don't know how that is possible.

Tom Sightings said...

Sally, thanks for the heads up. I've received a few notes from others as well. Apparently I have been hacked in some way. I have NOT sent out a bunch of friend requests, so if you get one, pls. ignore. (But I am on facebook, so you're welcome to check me out separately.)

gideon sockpuppet said...

The experience that always shocks me is when I go to an appointment with a physician and he or she looks to be about 14.

Jude

Savoring Sixty said...

I laughed out loud at your paragraph about the "brand new" golf shirt. My husband is the same way! It really is hard to conceive how fast time is passing. I am pretty positive 2005 was just last year!

Snowbrush said...

I'm with your daughter. Even if the milk goes a bit South, it's still good for baking.