Several years ago, my soon-to-be husband, Richard, and I went to see the play,”Fiddler On the Roof.” It was the first time I had heard the song, “Sunrise, Sunset.” Having no children of my own at that time, I’m sure that I enjoyed the song as just another one of the popular tunes of the day. It wasn’t until years later, as I watched our daughters grow and flourish that the song’s poignant lyrics filled me with a sense of nostalgia over the quickly passing years.
I vividly recall one instance when the song’s depth of meaning hit home. Often, while driving out to Long Island, New York to visit my mother, I would sing songs to keep my young daughters entertained during the lengthy ride, songs with catchy tunes and funny lyrics. On this one particular day, while I viewed my daughters sitting in the back seat of the car, it hit me how quickly they were growing up and I started to sing “Sunrise , Sunset.” As I sang the song, my eyes flooded with tears. Upon seeing my face in the car’s rearview mirror, my daughters anxiously asked why I was crying. Was everything OK? I assured them that I was fine and immediately changed my tune as well as my melancholy mood.
“Quickly fly the years. One season following another.” Where were the little girls my husband and I carried? When did they grow from trying to roll over. to saying their first word, to taking their first steps, to learning to read, to riding a bike, and to all those “firsts” that filled them and us with a sense of pride in achievement? Elementary school, high school, and college, all passed as quickly as the passing of the seasons.
When Nancy and Jeremy married, Nancy chose “Sunrise, Sunset” as one of the songs to be played as she walked down the aisle with the person who had won her heart. Once again, the tears flowed as they did so many times before whenever I heard the song. “Now they must learn from one another, day by day.” Yes, they were on their way to creating their own memorable moments! A new chapter had begun in both their lives as well as the lives of my husband and me.
This past summer, Nancy posted a photo of teen-aged May, with phone in hand, sitting on a lawn chair by a pool. I looked at the photo and once again the words to “Sunrise, Sunset” came to mind. Where is the little girl who hugged her stuffed Elmo, who watched Yo Gabba Gabba and sang “There’s a party in my tummy,” who danced around the living room singing “Jingle Bells,” who planted tulip bulbs in my yard on Cape Cod as she knelt by my side, who proudly yelled “I did It,” as she mastered riding a bicycle, and all of those firsts that brought her to this stage of her life? When did she get to be the lovely young lady in the photo?
“Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers, blossoming even as we gaze.” Children, like flowers, are the product of the attention, care, and love they receive along the way to fruition. What seems like a moment in time when viewed retrospectively is actually a lengthy journey filled with joys, sorrows, beginnings, and endings. The blossoming of a child hinges upon the guidance and devotion of the gardener. May is blossoming as I gaze. I have been fortunate to be able to witness her journey from a mere sprout to the beautiful, kind, and thoughtful young woman she is today.