Cyndi Lauper once sang "Money Changes Everything". I don't think it's just money. You don't have to have money for things to change, trust me. Time is the thing that washes over the sands of life and slowly changes the shape and size of, well, everything. It's not a new sentiment, I know. In my mind I hear the strains of "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Cat's In The Cradle". It's been a very musical morning in my head.
It really began a couple of days ago, when my son got out of bed and we met, as we often do, in the bathroom. He looked up at me through bleary eyes and told me that he had a bad dream the night before. "It was sad," he said. I found this significant, since most mornings he doesn't acknowledge having dreams of any sort. I asked him what the sad part was, and he told me that he had dreamed that a bad guy had been using a Lego store as a front for he evil schemes, and in order to get rid of the bad guy, the Lego store had to be blown up. That was the sad part.
I know that he has been feeling the looming spectre of middle school just over his shoulder, and I told him that I thought maybe the Lego store getting blown up was kind of like leaving the little kid stuff in his life behind. I said that I remembered being ten, and sometimes I wished I could go back there too, before all of the switching classes and changing clothes for gym, and all those big kids.
He said, "I wish you were ten sometimes too."
"So we could spend more time together."
That moment made the rest of my week seem easy.
Then I was watching the Costa-Gravas film, "Missing". When I saw that movie twenty-six years ago, I related to the son who had gone to South America to write a children's book with his new wife. I understood the pain of the father, played by Jack Lemmon, but I didn't really feel it. At that time I was more caught up in the political injustice of the whole thing: youthful idealism. Now I felt a father's fear and sorrow at losing his son. My wife came in and noticed my red eyes, and I tried to explain how time had shifted my perception of this story, and I cried a little because I was a son when I first saw the movie and now I was a father. "Ow," she said, "or maybe that's not quite the right word."
"No," I replied, "but it's in the right family." I don't think and feel the way I used to. None of us do. Change is good. Change is scary. Change is inevitable. And even though I wish I were ten, or sixteen, or even thirty sometimes, I'm glad that time keeps sweeping me forward.