Life is Change

Philosophers, theologians, and scientists alike have all spent thousands of years trying to answer the question, “What is life?” A rock on a path is not alive. A horse running across a field is. A blogger is somewhere in between. But where does one draw the line?

Personally, I have a very simple definition: life is motion. If something moves, it’s probably alive. Once more, as a thing moves about, it rarely stays the same. Therefore, by the law of transitivity, life is change.

So let’s look more closely into change, using this baby as our test subject:

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First of all, that’s no ordinary baby. That’s my daughter Sarah. Isn’t she cute? Look! She’s holding her head up! It’s hard to believe she was born just a couple of weeks ago. Don’t you just wish they could stay at this age forever? (Well, except for the staying-awake-all-night and the puking-constantly bits).

But alas, the space-time continuum doesn’t work that way. They cannot stay this age forever. See the next picture for additional evidence:

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That’s Sarah in preschool. It’s hard to believe this picture was taken just a couple of weeks ago. How is it physically possible to go from bottles to sippy cups in the blink of an eye? How can we go from “Look! She’s holding her head up!” to “Look! She’s dealing poker hands to the other preschoolers!” so quickly?

*sigh* On to the next picture:

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This is Sarah at her grade school graduation just a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps like many of you, I don’t really consider moving from fifth to sixth grade something worthy of an entire ceremony. But a custom is a custom, so we go along with it. That’s her sister Rachel standing next to her. Rachel will be next: graduating from fifth grade in just three short years.

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In middle school Sarah began playing the flute. Once again, I don’t know how we went so quickly from “Look! She’s beating the pants off the other preschoolers at poker!” to “Look! I just spent nine hundred dollars on a flute!”

She did pretty well until (like most kids) she lost interest. (I have a slightly-used, hollow silver tube for sale if anyone’s interested. Hope you don’t mind it’s full of holes.)

Anyway, on to high school, where Sarah abandoned band for choir.

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The picture above was taken a couple of weeks ago at their first choral concert. She didn’t actually stand in front, singing a solo, as pictured here. That’s just the way a proud dad sees his little girl (after three or four beers—just to help get through the show).

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With choir going so well, we figured that band was now a distant memory. So you can imagine our surprise sophomore year when Sarah opted to trade her microphone back for the flute. In spite of weeks of rehearsal on hot asphalt under a blazing Texas sun, she decided this sounded like fun.

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Unfortunately, a year off from fluting may have hurt: she ended up getting placed as an alternate. But just then, when band felt like it had hit a dead end, a spot opened up on the color guard team. She hopped right on and never looked back. Hey, change is good sometimes.

Here she is performing just a couple of weeks ago:

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Tick tock, tick tock. I have no idea how we went from “Look! She’s in middle school band!” to “Look! She’s graduating from high school!” Four years? Tell me it can’t be time for all that pomp and circumstance already! I’m just glad I brought beer with me or I might not have been able to handle the emotional overload.

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The summer after graduation flew by. We made more plans than we actually had time to accomplish but we did have one last family vacation together:

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Granted, it’s not actually our last family vacation. But after this—after she’s all growed up—well, they’ll just have a different feel to them, you know? But such is life!

Anyway, about a couple of weeks ago it was finally time. Time to pack everything up. Time to hop in a car. Time to drop Sarah off at college.

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College? Seriously? Already? We just got done with sippy cups! We made it to the dorm room early to haul everything in. We spent our last few hours together unpacking clothes, arranging her dorm room, and trying to pretend this was all as normal as a trip to the grocery store. Then before we knew it, it was time to go:

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We had a group hug the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the end of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. After all, it’s not every day you drop your child off in a strange city all alone, and that only a couple of weeks after her birth.

There were tears, but Sarah was strong too. Not wanting to drag things out, we said our goodbyes and she shooed us out the door.

The rest of us stood in the hall for a brief moment in front of the closed door. That’s when I thought, “Look! She’s holding her head up!”

Good luck, Sarah. Be yourself and make good choices!

32 Responses to “Life is Change”

Melodee said
September 5, 2011 at 1:16 am

I love this whole post. Awesome . . . and so true.

MizFit said
September 5, 2011 at 5:04 am


Deb said
September 5, 2011 at 6:51 am

Totally adorable, Charlie. Sarah is a lucky girl and you are a lucky Dad. Hoping that luck holds for Rachel, soldiering on as solo gal with two parents focusing all their attention her way while Sarah is off beating other frosh at poker (that pizza delivery won’t pay for itself)…

Stephanie said
September 5, 2011 at 7:12 am

What a great post Charlie! πŸ™‚

Kristen said
September 5, 2011 at 7:26 am

This was such a great post, Charlie! Made me laugh AND brought tears to my eyes.

Biz said
September 5, 2011 at 8:38 am

Charlie – I loved this post! I may be crying just a tad bit – they do grow up so fast!! Sarah is going to do great though!

Anna said
September 5, 2011 at 10:06 am

So sweet Charlie. I am tearful too πŸ˜€

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said
September 5, 2011 at 10:27 am

I totally have tears in my eyes!

Did you notice the potbelly on mom in the first picture though?? πŸ™‚

Crabby McSlacker said
September 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Aww, what a sweet post! Time flies ridiculously fast even without kids, but my goodness it must really bring it home to see toddlers turn into coeds in the blink of an eye. Thanks for sharing this!

Martha said
September 5, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Charlie – enjoyed this so much. All so true. You are on the edge of a new life yourself. It sneaks up on you!

Charlie said
September 6, 2011 at 7:37 am

Thanks for all the comments so far. (I like comments!)

Dana Hi-ler said
September 6, 2011 at 9:12 am

Brilliant, humorous, and touching! Freebird!

Jason said
September 6, 2011 at 9:44 am

This is really touching.

bb said
September 6, 2011 at 9:55 am

you’re a good daddy. <3

Mom said
September 6, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I’ve read this a couple of times each day, it just got to me. And guess what — life keeps on getting faster. Next month, Rachel will graduate from high school….
PS – loved the vacation illustration.

    Charlie said
    September 9, 2011 at 7:30 am

    Something tells me you can relate to this a bit. πŸ™‚

Michelle said
September 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Congrats Charlie! If your girls have your sense of humor and perspective, I’m sure they are going to do great!!

I love the art work!! I may have to have my kids help me with my random blog posts.

Helen said
September 7, 2011 at 10:59 am

What a wonderful way to honor your lovely Sarah!

Gastric Bypass Man said
September 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm

What an inspiring post you have here. Nice one.

Jenn@slim-shoppin said
September 8, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Love it! I’ve read it 3 times and I always get choked up at the end!

Kathy said
September 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm

This is so beautiful Charlie. Thanks for sharing.

Christine said
September 8, 2011 at 9:14 pm

I know it all go by in just a blink… So hard to even think of my babies going off to college. Sigh.

MizFit said
September 9, 2011 at 3:50 am

more please πŸ™‚

Im a lurker who hath now become a nagging nonlurker!

youll have that…

    Charlie said
    September 9, 2011 at 8:02 am

    Working on it! πŸ™‚

LisaM said
September 17, 2011 at 8:44 am

Beautiful writing, but darn why did I read it solo on a Sat morning, with my Sara many states away, through college and deciding she’s staying where she is!

Back to the Fridge » So Now What? said
September 19, 2011 at 12:03 am

[…] it now! (Paperback or Kindle!) Recent CommentsOn Life is Change LisaM said, "Beautiful writing, but darn why did I read it solo on a Sat morning, with my Sara many […]

Stephanie Barko said
September 19, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Look at all the comments you got to this post, Charlie! Looks like your next book needs to be about fatherhood or letting go or family life and change.

Suzie said
July 20, 2012 at 10:17 am

Though, it’s almost a year later Biz sent me to this blog, she thought I would enjoy it and boy did I!! This is so true and I loved your “couple weeks ago” on everything….ha ha ha! When my son went in the service (March 2011) was when I felt…alone. Yes, I have a hubby but, I still miss my boy. Such is life though, move on and start new traditions right? πŸ™‚

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