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Mommy Musings Time Marches On
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Lately, I've been doing a lot of thinking about aging.

Oddly enough it's not my own age, but the age of the children who are a part of our circle of friends and family. My niece just learned she made the high school cheerleading squad for the fall of 2009. A thought that has her thrilled and me horrified. How, not to mention when, did this happen? Where's the little girl that loved dancing to Shania Twain and playing with horses?

Thoughts like these fill my mind often as I discover the progression and aging of so many that surround us. 'When did this happen?' is a question I seem to exclaim a lot lately. Almost as if to imply that my permission need first be granted before all these little people can continue to progress.

Perhaps the biggest part of the problem is that I actually forget that I too am getting older. Oh, sure the smile and frown lines are there to greet me each time I glance into the mirror and my once devastating 'Freshman 10' - you know, that 10 pounds that virtually every college freshman gains in their first semester away from home - has multiplied into a family of its own. My problem is somehow I forget birthdays. Not the birthdays of others, but I seem to forget my own, or rather, that it has happened.

Once I told people I was 26 for two whole years. Not because I did not want to turn older, I had just forgotten I had. It was not until someone asked my age in the presence of my mother, that I was reminded I was in fact 28 not 26.

Why is it that I am the first to have a card in the mail and a sentiment of joy when family and friends mature one more year - yet once my birthday comes and goes, I almost forget it ever happened.

Some will say that is the first sign of getting older ... perhaps.

Now, well into my fourth decade on this planet, life is a bit different. My teens were filled with superficial thoughts, daydreaming, 'hanging out,' and completely living in the moment. Once into my twenties life was all about my career. Promotions, paychecks and plane trips consumed much of that decade. I can honestly say that my 30th birthday was the first time I actually stopped and reflected on my life. Proud of what I had accomplished and challenged by what I had left to give before leaving this planet.

When I stop and think about it, it is almost as if the first 30 years of my life were all about racing the clock.

Like most children, I was in a hurry to grow up, get a license, go to college and move out on my own. Only to discover the tremendous responsibility being an adult entails. Not to mention getting mail as an adult is a stark contrast to the mail you jump for joy over as a child.

Perhaps the reason I forget my years as they are celebrated is because I no longer have benchmarks set at milestone birthdays. Or maybe it's because I really don't feel any older now than I did 10 years ago.

Sure I'll be the first to admit I do a double take at stoplights when I spot a young driver. Each time telling myself the person next to me cannot be old enough to drive, then I quickly remember I have 20 plus years now behind the wheel - and yes, it is possible this person is old enough to drive.

Pondering all these thoughts before penning this piece I had an epiphany. Perhaps my challenge with the aging process is not in the number but in the fact of not feeling the age. I suddenly realized for the first time that as the years are passing I am not losing time, but gaining knowledge. Knowledge about myself, my family, friends and just life in general.

No longer do I struggle with what is to come, as I am content living in the moment and watching life unfold as I live in God's favor.

So, as the young ones surround me begin navigating their way through life - I continue to navigate my own somewhat crooked path. Taking lessons from everything that surrounds me and am constantly reminded of how precious life is.

One day my niece will awaken and reflect back on this moment. The day she learned she had made cheerleader and all that happened in her life between past and present. My only hope for her is that when that day comes, she is as blessed as I have been and is able to look back and be proud of the canvas she has created.

Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at HYPERLINK "" or by calling 847-3021.