photo credit: Naassom Azevedo
I remember being 20 years old.
Planning a wedding.
Looking at houses like a 16 year old looks at cars.
Aren’t we always looking for, searching for, planning for that next thing?
After the wedding and the house came the baby fever a few years later. All the nursery furniture and books of baby names.
Once the kids are born we start planning for school. Backpacks and school supplies.
We spend the next decade or so driving everyone to everything and wondering when it will be our turn again. Even though these are the very dreams we prayed for and clung to for so long.
Next we plan their launch. College visits or military recruiters. Sheets for twin beds and $10 dorm skillets. The excitement builds and then evaporates with one set of taillights or one giant aircraft in the distance.
We wait. We wonder. We hear from them now on their terms and we count the weeks between visits.
And we realize one Wednesday morning while we sip our coffee and type in the glow of the Christmas tree that now they’re us. Now THEY are 20 years old. We are no longer even a daily thought to them because they are planning that wedding and looking at that house with the very same vigor we did so many years ago. And they know everything just like we did. To that we just smile and think “so that’s why my parents never really said much and just watched it all unfold.”
So what do we do now? See we have been to therapy and had all these intense life lessons since we were 20. We know so much.
Alas we really know so little. We control so very little (only our own thoughts and actions). We could say now we are planning for grandchildren but we have also stopped all the cookie cutter “this comes next” because we have been on the very train that derailed those best laid plans.
So I just revel in the warmth of my coffee mug in my hands. Stare at the lights on my tree. Remember the excitement of buying my very first house. Give thanks for the bumps and bruises I have endured. And look forward to making my Mammaw’s dressing from scratch tonight like she and my mother have done since the 1940’s.
Mammaw was 20 years old.
Mama was 20 years old.
I was 20 years old.
Thank you Lord for all the 20-year-olds, the hopes and dreams, the excitement of building a life. May we never forget that feeling.