When I was a small child, I remember thinking that growing up was something that happened overnight. One day you wake up and you're a grown-up with a job and a house and you live on from there. As I got a little older, I realized that growing up isn't something that happens overnight, but actually very slowly over time. Every day you grow a little more and a little more for years, until life ends.
But as I look at the pictures hung on the walls of my home, I come to realize that I had it right the first time. Growing up may not actually happen overnight, but it sure does look that way, doesn't it? Just looking at those pictures takes me back to the days of birthday parties and loose teeth. The days of soccer practice and really big lollipops. I remember riding in the car with my parents really late at night from Grandma's house on Christmas Eve. While my parents were in the front seat worrying about speed limits and drunk drivers, I felt so safe and comfortable that I could just fall right asleep in the backseat, knowing that they would carry me to bed when we got home. They probably realized back then how quickly time was passing.
Fast forward to me in the sixth grade, sitting on my bed talking to my best friend, Amanda. I was telling her that I didn't like Heath anymore, but now I had a crush on Zach. I remember Amanda telling me that she liked to look at Joe's butt. We laughed. We knew that we were growing up, but it didn't seem too fast. In fact, it still seemed like it would be centuries before we were old enough to shave our legs, drive a car, or go on dates with boys.
But when I turned around, I was sixteen. I ran to my car after my summer job so I could go home and shower before my boyfriend came over. I thought it was total bull crap that we weren't allowed to go into my bedroom, but had to stay downstairs with my parents all evening. My mom told me I would understand some day. I do.
Then one day, just like I had imagined, I woke up and it was time to graduate. A week later I had a job as a full-time secretary. I got an apartment with my boyfriend. We got pregnant, we got married, the baby came, I blinked and she turned seven months old. What was I doing two years ago? Driving around town with my boyfriend, chucking beer cans at mailboxes? And now here I am, playing patty-cake and peek-a-boo. It's hard to believe how quickly life changes.
In the mean time, the dishes pile up, the bed is unmade, and the same load of laundry I started yesterday is still in the washer. But it can all wait until tomorrow because I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep.