Posted May 4, 2011 by jimhigley

Step One: Take a close look at the little boy in the photo.

Step Two: Blink

Step Three: Well, you don’t get a step three. But I do. You see, the boy in the picture is my oldest son Kevin. He’s standing there – holding up five fingers to proudly tell his dad that he is “five” – and about to begin his first day of school. I not only remember that day. I remember the smell of the air. I remember the wind blowing through the leaves on the trees. I remember the feel of his skin. And wetting his hair down from his bed head.

I remember noticing his shoelace – a little too long – and telling myself that I needed to retie it so he didn’t trip.

I remember thinking what a long journey it would be from that moment to the end.

Then I blinked.

And today that little boy is taking his last college exam.

Truthfully, I’m not sure how to feel. Relieved? Amazed? I’m overwhelmed by the speed with which life moves. I’m so excited for his future. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m grappling  with the realization that the young dad who took that photo is also older. 17 years older to be exact. And it happened in a blink.

After my mom died, when I was a child, I found a poem in her purse. To this day that poem, written by a man named Heartsill Wilson, contains some of the most powerful words I have ever read. My favorite being:

“…but what I do today is important, because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.”

Life does move fast. But in between those blinks lies the opportunity for amazing days. Since that picture was taken, I’ve have a little over 6,000 of them.That’s how I’m looking at it.

Congratulations, Kevin. Your dad is not only proud of you. He has loved every one of those days with you.

  • Jaimie

    baby kev! very cute.

  • Melissa

    Congrats to Kevin! It is very true, they do disappear in the blink of an eye. It is nice to be able to remember though! 🙂

  • Kevin

    You should probably stop blinking so I can stay 21.

  • Heather Reese

    This is why I put my kids before anything else right now. My last baby is 6 months old, but he was just born yesterday…. but then so was my 7 year old and the two in between them. Or so it seems.


    Okay, as a stranger coming here from your Twitter feed, I have to say… you totally scared me with that adorable picture and then "you don't get a step three" lead in! 😉 Congratulations to you and your family. I remember my own first day of school, and my last college exams. Life is a whirlwind, eh? Enjoy every second of it!

    – Sarah Ockler

  • Barbara

    What a touching post. Brought tears to my eyes…..been having similar thoughts about my own son who is suddenly driving and looking at colleges. I also have a 7 year old and as I've been shocked at the sudden "growing up" of my oldest, have been trying to take in every moment with my youngest. I wasn't prepared for how fast it would fly by!

    Hoping to bring my 3 rugrats up to Chicago for the Wrigley event… your blog and love Immerman Angels!

  • Corinne @ Everyday Gyaan

    Jim – Thanks for connecting. I only had to read one of your posts to be hooked. You're an amazing man and I look forward to coming by here often! Don't blink too much 😉

  • xelaboy

    Jim – this is so true and nicely written to boot. I have 2 older daughters – 28 and 20 and 3 younger children 5, 3 and 1. I frequently see the past in the present – echoes of what the older children did that is manifested in similar ways with the younger siblings. I feel fortunate to experience all this again and like to think that my past experience with the older kids is a benefit for the younger ones. Even the interval between baby and 5-year-old seems to pass with rocketing speed. They are times well lived. Thanks for writing this piece.


  • Run-It

    Time does that. You think life is full of sedentary Tuesdays and Sunday afternoons but it's really loaded with lickety split Fridays and Saturdays.

    I have three daughters: 11, 15 and 18 Years. Each has taken a long time to suddenly become the beautiful talented people they are now and in the blink of an eye who they are now will be gone.

  • Jim Higley is the Bobblehead Dad – writer, speaker, life observer and cancer warrior.

    @run-it, Alex, Corinne, Barbara, Sarah,Heather and Melissa! I think we all need to have a long cup of coffee at Starbucks and share our stories about how fast all of this goes! Thanks for reading and sharing!

  • writearounditall

    The swiftness of life has really hit me lately, too. My oldest son just turned 19, but by all rights he should be about 12 . . . at least, in my head. I look at my other two teenage boys and realize that in a blink, they will be gone as well. Why is it all going so fast anymore?

  • Danny Grubb

    Congratulations Kevin and Jim. You've both done an excellent job.