Our fourth grader had a question: “How do I cherish life more? It goes by so fast. How do I slow it down?”
I don’t even know where to begin. Is this the mischief maker? The prankster who loves to break dance? He is all of the above. He is ten and he feels the speed that has taken him from baby to here.
This awareness isn’t new. He has longed for babyhood, toddlerhood, little-hood before. He has suffered through the realization of his own mortality. He gets that all this, that he himself, will not last. Now he says things like “cherish.” I’m so out of my league.
His father’s response: “Do me a favor. Just consider, a little bit, the idea of becoming a rabbi some day.”
And then, “Appreciate what blessings you have in your life, as often as possible.”
Yes to both from me.
And also, now that I’ve had time to consider, I would add: Taste a strawberry verrry slowly. Look in my eyes for five seconds once a day. Stand in a patch of sunlight, close your eyes, and take a breath and feel it heat your skin.
I don’t need a clock or calendar to tell me time is passing too quickly. My 13-year-old son has outgrown his shoes from September, and he trick-or-treats without parental supervision. My niece fills out college applications, and new strands of white hair pop up on my head. These markers are more than enough clock and calendar to tell me that I need to cherish life more, too.
I step outside. It is a beautiful fall day. The rain last week washed our sky and I can still smell what it left behind — a sprouting blade of grass, a walk in search of puddles, a whopper of a double rainbow, and desperate hope for much more to come.