Where Does the Time Go?

We look at our grandchildren and ask, “Where does the time go?” I think I may have found it.

Rose Kennedy, matriarch of the Kennedy family and mother of President John F. Kennedy, once said, “Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments.”


Our grandson is graduating into high school. It’s one of the biggest moments of his life, even if he doesn’t understand yet exactly how big. He’s officially leaving childhood behind.


This is a unique moment he shares with his grandpa and me. Many years ago, we stepped through that same door. Teenagers believe their grandparents are clueless. Although we know more about what he’s going to encounter than he realizes, perhaps that’s life’s grand design. Regardless of how much we want to spare him, some things he must learn for himself.

Photo: Carolyn Tillery

Ahead of him are wonderful new experiences, joys, frustrations, and, yes, failures–four years into which he’ll cram an enormous amount living. He’ll make new friends, fall in and out of love, laugh himself silly, get mad as hell, get his driver’s license, and, no doubt, get grounded. He’ll also learn so very much.


But what happened to all those moments that got us here?

  • Those baby laughs and snorts as “Oscar” walked across his tummy mid diaper change

  • The wobbly first steps and conviction I’d smash that coffee table to bits if it hurt him

  • Letting him turn the page of the storybook even though he might tear it

  • The gleeful saying of his name when I’d ask, “Who’s Grandma’s Best Boy?”

Photo: Scott Caster

  • His beaming pride in the aim of his missile sinking the tissue battleship in the toilet

  • The refusal to accept that his parents brought his baby sister home from the hospital for him

  • His solemn promise that he had his manners in his pocket as we walked into the restaurant

  • The assembly of Thomas the Train tracks that I know could’ve matched any highway engineer’s best work

Photo: Carolyn Tillery

  • His frustration at the water constantly filling the hole he was digging on the beach

  • Seeing our last name on the back of the small softball uniform

  • Making stashes of love notes for his parents to put in his lunchbox

  • Watching him hug the little sister that he’d desperately wanted returned to the hospital

Photo: Scott Pena

  • Seeing our last name on the back of the mini version of his grandpa’s firefighting gear

  • The confusion on his face when he asked, “So, if Grandpa is Daddy’s daddy, and Gram is Daddy’s mommy, and you’re married to Grandpa–Grandma, does that make you and Gram sisters?”

  • “Oh, Grandma, turn it up!” followed by a sing along that proved he could be a rock star

  • Seeing our last name on the back of the hockey jersey

  • When he asked for a motherboard for Christmas rather than more Thomas the Train tracks

I’ve realized that time hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s not missing. It’s all the good stuff that makes up Grandma’s Best Boy, who’s about to walk across that stage and into his future.


Photo: Carolyn Tillery