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The Zoo Keeper

Summer Daze

Layla Watkins

As they say, "the older you get, the faster time goes." Cliché, yes. But clichés are clichés for a reason - they are true.

It seems like just yesterday that I was getting my daughter, Kara, ready for her first day of preschool, and now here she is, about to start kindergarten. But my, how times have changed (yes, I know, another cliché).

When I was growing up, you graduated from high school and later from college. There was no "Preschool Graduation," no graduation party after the ceremony, and certainly no graduation gifts. Am I bitter? No, I think it's wonderful to celebrate our kids' accomplishments no matter what the timeline. It just seems that these milestones come and go so quickly that it's hard to wrap my brain around the fact that they are growing up as fast as they are.

So there I sat, watching the parade of proud little students, led by proud teachers, through a sanctuary filled with proud parents. I was actually pretty proud of myself too for managing to keep my composure until…cue "Pomp and Circumstance."

What is it about that special graduation music that stirs so much emotion? As my little girl marched up the aisle with her class, I flashed back to her birth, her first steps, learning ride her bike, and then flashed forward to her wedding. I had to stop there lest I go from teary-eyed to a complete blubbering mess.

After the ceremony, everyone gathered for a little party and some play time with friends before saying good-bye for the summer. From there, we went shopping for her graduation present - she picked out a purple Barbie convertible. Perfect choice, Kara! Now when she's 18 I can say, "But honey, you already got a car for graduation!" Think that will fly? Yeah, me neither.

Well, now that it's summer we can relax and savor every moment so that it doesn't go by too quickly. The only problem is that between dance recitals, swimming lessons, summer camps, play dates, and day trips, it appears that summer will give in to the same fate as the school year did - it will be over before we know it.

What happened to the lazy days of summer? The days of sipping lemonade on the porch, lounging in the hammock, searching the grass for that elusive 4-leaf clover? Why do the swings get less mileage than the car seats?

It's often said "There's just not enough time in the day." Well, maybe that's one cliché that doesn't have to be true.

What if I, just for a day, honestly separated the things I want to get done from the things I need to get done? What if I spent more time playing catch and less time playing catch-up?

I have a theory. Maybe time doesn't really go faster as you get older; after all, I have the same 24-hours today that I did when I was younger. Time doesn't go faster, we just get busier. Busy little bees are we. We all have responsibilities that need to be taken care of. But if we allow the "busy work" that fills the gaps in between to be a little less busy, all of a sudden, time will magically start to slow back down. It's just a theory, but this summer, I'm going to put it to the test.

This summer I'm going to take the kids fishing instead of cleaning the fish tank. I'm going to play with them in the grass, not just mow it. I'm going to ride my horses instead of just feeding and cleaning up after them. I'm going to stay up late to have a drink with my husband and not worry about what time the kids will get me up in morning.

And if my theory is wrong, if time still keeps going faster and faster? Well, so be it. But at least I'll have enjoyed it while it was here.

Read other article by Layla Watkins