Scary Fast

I was idly scrolling down my Facebook news feed yesterday when I spotted a couple of photos my daughter had posted of my son and herself, all dressed up for Halloween.  They were taken when my children were very young, in the preschool and kindergarten years, but when I looked at the pictures, I was instantly flooded with very specific memories of those two Halloweens.

martha-and-daniel-2I remembered that my daughter’s angel costume had been borrowed from church  (one of the costumes used for the annual Christmas program), and I remembered how grateful I was that my son wanted to be a fireman two years in a row.  I wasn’t one of those moms who enjoyed putting together elaborate costumes for my children, which also explains why my daughter’s ballerina costume in the second picture is nothing more than her dance class outfit with a shirt underneath the tutu to keep her warm.

I remembered how we carved the pumpkins just before eating dinner, so that our Jack-0-Lanterns would be ready for any early arrivals.  I remember how my husband and I took turns being the parent who stayed at home to greet trick-or-treaters, and the parent who took our kids around the neighborhood.  I remember the pumpkin sugar cookies I made,  dying the frosting orange and then adding just a touch of green for the pumpkin stem.  (I may not have been big on costumes, but I put an effort into those Halloween cookies.)  Mostly I remember the barely contained excitement of my son and daughter when the big night finally arrived, and for once, getting a lot of candy wasn’t just allowed, it was actually encouraged.

When my children were young, I was a stay-at-home mom who was struggling to make a go of a free-lance writing career.  Sometimes I felt a bit overwhelmed by the constant demands on my time, the never-ending cycle of laundry, meals, dirty diapers, and trying to keep two very active little people safe, healthy, and happy.  Occasionally I felt isolated and lonely, missing the company of my co-workers and the way I took easy access to adult conversation for granted.  Older women, especially my mom, often told me to treasure the years when my children were young, and warned me that they would be over far too soon.  “In the blink of an eye,” they said, “this will all be gone.”


I’m ashamed to say that there were times when I didn’t quite believe them, because time didn’t seem to be moving all that fast to me.  But now my daughter is a 30-year old married woman, and my son is a 27-year old man who will be married in less than two weeks.  It seems like only yesterday that they were a little ballerina and fireman, and so excited for Halloween they could hardly stand still.  How can that be?  How in the world did time move so very quickly?  I remember those sweet days of their early childhood so very well, but I guess I must have blinked…..

51 thoughts on “Scary Fast

  1. Hard to believe isn’t it, Ann? I’m in my sixties and more or less mirroring your situation and how I perceive it. It’s all tied up with the psychology of time perception, of course, and specifically, something called ‘forward telescoping’, in which distant events seem more recent. 🙂

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  2. It is hard to believe that it is over so quickly. Picking the right pumpkins, getting costumes as early as September, putting on Halloween parties and making coordinating costumes for a group of four preteens. There are times when I look back and wonder how I did it all.

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  3. We never believe the blink when we’re young. It’s funny you posted this because we were walking with my seventeen month old granddaughter tonight and a group of her friends celebrating Halloween and I told all the prents that in just a few years they’ll be doing this on their own and won’t want you to come along. They smiled at me but I knew they didn’t get it, knew they felt as you did so many to years ago, as we all did.
    We blinked. So will they.

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    • I believe you’re right, George. No one believes just how quickly it will go by, until it’s too late! As a friend of mine put it, “the minutes sometimes dragged, but the years flew!” I don’t think it’s possible to imagine our kids any way other than as they are right now, and no matter how often someone older tries to explain it, we just don’t get it. And so it goes… Hope you had a great Halloween with your family!!!

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  4. I hear you, Ann! I so hear you!!! They say – the days are long, but the years are short. I try to tell young moms that – but I remember the feeling – and I remember “older” ladies telling me the same – and it just doesn’t compute – until now – and it’s too late – lol – it is life – and I wouldn’t trade it 🙂 Such exciting days ahead for you with your son’s wedding quickly approaching!!! Just about the same time our exciting arrival is due! 🙂 ❤

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    • Oh, Jodi, that’s just what a friend of mine told me, only in slightly different words. We just can’t believe it until it happens to us. But luckily, there’s still plenty of good family time to look forward to: in your case, a granddaughter, and in mine, a wedding! Life does go on, even if we sometimes miss the past.

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  5. Your post invokes similar memories of our kids when they were young on Halloween. I was never one for costumes even when I was a kid but my own children were (they were normal I was not?) and I do recall fondly the memories of costume consideration and preparation. My second chid, who to this day still provides me with the most creative inspiration, wanted to be a hurricane when he was five. He had it all figured out with a tomato basket, fabric, and ropes. And then the opposite end of the spectrum was when I was a kid we got our halloween costumes in a box with a plastic mask and nylon top and bottom for whatever character one chose. My heart was broken when my mom made me wear a jacket over my boxed Wolfman costume because “it was very cold outside”.

    So great that your daughter obviously has fond memories of her childhood Halloween experiences with her brother.

    Boo! 🙂

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    • I remember those box costumes! We wore them when I was a child as well. And that’s wonderful that your children liked to put a lot of effort into their costumes. (Being a hurricane is very imaginative!) The downtown near us hosts a trick or treat session before Halloween each year, with many of the stores and restaurants handing out candy. We like to go eat in a restaurant that night and just watch the kids go by. Some of the costumes are amazing! I wasn’t good at coming up with costumes myself, but it sure is fun to see what the people who are come up with! Hope you had a great Halloween!

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  6. Time really does fly by. It’s amazing. Sometimes my husband will say, “do you remember…” about when the kids were little, and I don’t. This I find especially troubling. Why don’t I remember? It is scary, for sure.

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    • My guess is you have your memories, and your husband has his. They aren’t always the same. My husband remembers stuff about our kids that I don’t, too. But that’s okay… Either way, the time goes by much faster than we ever imagined!

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  7. I haven’t children, but I know the feeling of time going past too quickly. My nieces and various cousins’ children are now adults with their own children and I wonder where the years went.

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    • I think the years go quickly even for those who aren’t parents. I remember when I first met my niece (she was seven) and she asked me if I was going to marry her uncle. She said she hoped so, because then I would be her aunt. I still think of her as that sweet little girl, but she’s turning 50 in three years!!!!

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  8. My mother said exactly the same thing to me, so I expected the early years to race by too quickly, and yet somehow I was still surprised when they did. By the way, very many congratulations on your son’s upcoming wedding. 🙂

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  9. What wonderful memories to treasure Ann. Yes, time flies but where it goes is anyone’s guess. I can remember when my two were just toddlers, which seems like only yesterday. How is it that those memories seem so clear when I can barely remember what I did yesterday. Great post Ann. Enjoy every day. That’s what matters. xo

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  10. I tried not to blink back then, because I loved being a parent to two young children so much, despite the hassles and stresses and having to find a stupid Halloween costume for them every year (like you, I was NOT into creating new fabulous costumes – my daughter was a ‘gypsy’ for years with my old skirts and long necklaces…). Each day I told myself to breathe in and breathe out and not blink. But no matter, it happened. In the blink of an eye, on Halloween night this past Monday night I was out in the street trick or treating with my young grandkids, watching my daughter stress that their costumes were coming apart, that she hadn’t iced those Halloween cookies, that… I told her STOP. DON’T BLINK!!! xo

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    • Oh I know! It’s so hard to convince anyone how quickly their childhood will go by, and how all those little things aren’t the least bit important. We each just have to learn it for ourselves. And the sad thing is, when I look back on those years, my main regret is that I spent far too much time and energy stressing about stuff that didn’t matter at all!


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