‘Nothing Gold Can Stay,’ and That’s OK
In the South, we have a tendency to cram words together to create a single gigantic one, a kind of linguistic Pangea, if you will. The one I’ve been using a lot lately is “usetacould,” a condensed form of the phrases “I used to be able to” and “I once could.” For example, “I can’t run a seven-minute mile these days, but I usetacould.”
It’s something I’ve often said as an MS patient. Some things I once did with ease are now a bit more challenging. All I can do is make the best of it and keep on truckin’. Other things, well, let’s just say I’ve learned to love them and let them go.
It doesn’t mean I don’t think about them from time to time or I don’t wish to be able to go back in time or pause it indefinitely. I certainly do wish both of these things. I mean, who wouldn’t want to rewind and erase a mistake? Who doesn’t want a shining moment to last forever?
However, as Bilbo Baggins sings in “The Hobbit,” “The road goes ever on.”
Next month, I will officially enter my mid-40s, and time seems to be speeding up to a breakneck pace. I’m coming to understand the truth: I only have so many years, days, and hours allotted to me, and I can’t spend all of them in wishful thinking.
My husband and I adopted two boys when our eldest was 8 and his brother 5. Today, I filled out paperwork to enroll the eldest for his first year of high school. Seriously, what is happening?! Yes, he is now 15, and he’s moving into the last stage of childhood. Before I know it, he’ll be grown and gone.
The younger one will follow a few years later, and then the phase of life I came to a little late (and somewhat reluctantly) will end. But something new and wonderful will begin, too.
When we began the foster and adoption process, someone told me to be mindful because “the days are long, but the years are short,” and oh brother, was she right. It’s like I’ve blinked and suddenly the silly little second grader that was standing in front of me is now a young man with a full chest, a deep voice, and much bigger feet.
It happened just like that, totally without my say-so. But rather than bemoan it and say things like, “I usetacould pick him up and carry him” or “I usetacould enjoy watching cartoons with him,” I’m choosing to embrace where he is (and where I am) right now. Because I don’t want to miss out on anything, even if it’s not like what I remember or used to enjoy.
Robert Frost said it best when he wrote, “Nothing gold can stay.” It’s the way of all things to change, and there is a time and a season for everything. The key is not fighting to hold on to what once was, but embracing what is.
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