My dad was a college professor while I was growing up. At one point, he took a year-long sabbatical and moved a few thousand miles away, to check in with the professional arena and report back to his students. When he came back, something wasn't right. Nothing was wrong, exactly, but for months the not-right tickled the back of his mind, especially when looking out of our windows. When he finally figured it out, he told us: "The trees are taller." We couldn't see a difference. The yard looked the same as it always had. But my dad could see the growth, couldn't not see it, because he was looking with fresh eyes.
I've been thinking a lot about Dad's trees. I fight vertigo every time Miss G walks in the room. I'm expecting to see yesterday's 4-year-old and instead I'm thrown by this lengthening girl-woman... closer to the latter than the former every day. The change has been so gradual that I haven't seen it. I don't notice, don't notice, then wham!-- something gives me new sight, and I see her as if it's the first time. My god, wasn't she just in diapers a couple weeks ago?
Everyone says "Oh, it goes so fast!"-- only it's not the kids, but the parents who go fast. It's the surrounding life. We touch down on the surface from time to time like skipping stones... check in with the kiddies, make mental notes that they need new shoes and joined the swim team, then life launches us back into jobs and mortgages, groceries and bills. We're up in the air until something catches our attention enough that we focus for a heartbeat-- a poor grade, a blue ribbon, a sprained ankle or broken heart-- and then we're off again.
Kids don't go fast; they're growing like trees. We just aren't paying attention.