Does time really go too fast when you have kids? A discussion.

OPINION: A common theory is that as a parent, if you blink, your 2-year-old will be 16, and a longing for their early years will be all that’s left. I’ve been thinking about that a lot.

kids grow up fast,
(Photo by Halfpoint Images/Getty Images)

While perusing my social media feeds recently,  I came across a meme from some account I don’t follow (but somehow still ends up on my feed) with a caption that said something to the effect of “When they tell you that your kids will be grown before you know it.” The picture, though, was of a man in a headlock, upset and annoyed, looking at somebody else, presumably a person who got him into the mess he was in. The gag here is that sure, my kids will be grown up soon, but right now, the chaos reigns supreme. 

I think about this meme often — though I cannot seem to find the specific graphic — as people tell me in various fashions that I might lament my children’s inability to listen right now, but before I know it, they’ll be teenagers and/or about to leave the house, and I’ll miss these days of their precocious youth. It often makes me wonder if that’s a thing. You see, while I know that my kids will one day be on their own, is time marching too quickly on the way there? These things keep me up at night. 

You see, I have four kids. My oldest, my daughter, is 14 and will be a freshman in high school next year. My youngest is 2 and will absolutely not be a high school freshman next year. In fact, because of when his birthday falls, he will still be in the house hanging with his mother and me while we try to work and play at the same time. This very article you’re reading right now was turned in to my editor super late because my 2-year-old decided that I absolutely did not need two arms to type today. He needed one arm to himself to cuddle while he watched his iPad.

Point is, I have enough kids to get a good handle on how fast time has or has not flown by. So, I can admit that I am often amazed that I have a child who is four years away from college. It actually seems unbelievable. Yet, here we are. My baby girl is closer to adulthood and independence than she is to being the little girl starting dance lessons. That fact is especially amplified when I look at pictures from 2009 when she was born, which really feels like yesterday. 

Then I look at my two oldest boys, who are both 8 and 7 now. And my goodness. I can start to see the outlines of big boys. I can start to make out the facial features that I presume they’ll have for life. When they get haircuts, they don’t look like little kids anymore, they look like small versions of teenagers. The only thing that stops me from crying at night about it is that they still sound like kids. But the day my 8-year-old opens his mouth and I hear bass, I’m going to need to take a drink. 

Even my 2-year-old seems to have turned into a vocal, demonstrative, opinionated human. Thankfully, he loves to cuddle and all that tiny human stuff, because my daughter is almost in college and my other boys are about to start driving and chasing girls and calling me “bruh” and beating me in foot races. 

So does time move too quickly? It ABSOLUTELY does. And while I wish my kids would listen to me and do what I ask them to do before I repeat myself for the fifth time, I actually do wish I could bottle up some of these years because I know once they’re gone, they’re gone. I’m excited to see them grow into the lives and people they will be and forge their own paths and continue our family’s journey into the future. But I also wouldn’t mind keeping them in the house a little longer. 

So yeah, time moves too fast. It’s why I blink as slowly as possible. 

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is a columnist at theGrio. He writes very Black things and drinks very brown liquors, and is pretty fly for a light guy. His biggest accomplishment to date coincides with his Blackest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after she read one of his pieces (biggest), but he didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said: “Unknown” (Blackest).

Make sure you check out the Dear Culture podcast every Thursday on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, where I’ll be hosting some of the Blackest conversations known to humankind. You might not leave the convo with an afro, but you’ll definitely be looking for your Afro Sheen! Listen to Dear Culture on TheGrio’s app; download it here.