When she said it to me many years ago, I'll admit, I didn't think too much of it. But each year, as one (or all) of my children reached another milestone, it rang even more true. It--whatever "it" is on any given day--does go fast. Talk of naps gives way to talk of play dates and talk of grades and talk of college. Even in our non-parental lives, even the times that feel timeless, and the stages that feel endless, are gone in what turns out to be an instant. It has been decades now since my first day at One Life To Live, and even a lot of years since my last day there. Life goes on, and we go on with it.
So, I have been thinking a lot, not just about my cousin's words "it goes so fast," but also about the "enjoy it" part. It is not always easy to remember to "enjoy it" when we are changing a diaper or nagging about homework. It is not always easy to "enjoy it" when we are struggling through a project or taking criticism or looking for our next job. But these are all part of the experience of living--the steps that get us to the next step, the challenges that make us who we become, the memories that we will have when where we are now has given way to where we are later.
So, as I say "happy birthday," to my wise cousin, I am grateful for the reminder that seems even more powerful to me now than it was when I first began hearing it. And I am careful to "enjoy it." Because "it"--all of it--really does go so fast.