Geri-Antics: Blink & Boom

Published 5:30 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2022

BY ANNE CARMICHAEL

Columnist

A younger friend was preparing to send his eldest child off to college this coming fall. He described the sinking feeling that all parents have each time their child reaches a major milestone as ‘Blink & Boom’.

One day, your infant takes their first tentative steps.

Before you know it, that child has not only mastered walking, but he/she is a toddler who is running away from you.

You proudly walk them to their first day of school and then you b -blink and boom- they’re leaving for college.

Blink & Boom –a more accurate analysis of the evolution of life I have not heard.

No one is better acquainted with the Blink & Boom phenomena that those of us who have reached the final chapter of our lives. Retrospect becomes a primary focus. We spend a lot of time recalling both the highs and low points of our life.

Please forgive us if we tell the same story repeatedly. It may be that we simply forget to whom we’ve told the story or it could be that we’ve forgotten that we shared it at all.

Please be patient and understand that we merely wish to share our experiences before time runs out. We can hear the clock ticking and are no longer confident in projecting 10 -15 – or 20 years into the future, so we’re relegated to retelling the past.

Even though our longevity may seem an eternity to someone much younger, the time-lapse only seems to shorten as we age. The years when we raised our family seem as vivid as though they were yesterday and we recall each moment as we watch our children and grandchildren raising heir own offspring.

I never knew my great grandparents, but by the year 2030, 80% of children under the age of 8 will know at least one great grandparent.

That means that seniors in their sixties and seventies will have will have watched as 3 and possibly 4 generations achieve those all-important milestones. The Blink & Boom phenomena will have repeated itself hundreds if not thousands of times in our all too short lifetime.

The changing times and trends associated with each generation are not always easy to accept. In general, there’s a great deal of gnashing of tongues that grandparents must endure in order to keep the peace.

For example, as soon as our babies stood on wobbly legs, we loaded them in the car and made haste to a popular children’s shoe store (you know the one with a talking tree) to purchase a pair of heavy, high top leather shoes with thick wooden soles. Pediatricians recommended the walking shoes to nurture little feet and ankles until the bones were strong and finished growing.

Now, doctors recommend babies go barefoot as much as possible in order to encourage the aforementioned bone-growth unencumbered with the false sense of support that heavy leather shoes provided.

We put our babies on their tummies so if they regurgitated in their sleep, they weren’t likely to aspirate fluid into their lungs.

The next generation said placing the baby on its side was the way to go. They even sold wedges and pillows to keep them in that position.

Now, we’re told they were all wrong. Babies should always sleep on their backs. That makes absolutely no sense to me because of the spitting up thing, but supposedly there is scientific data to back the theory.

So you see how the changing times makes it difficult for us to be taken seriously and for the younger generation who can Google evidence to counter any claims we might make.

We raised our children without a manual and without the internet, so although we did glean much from trial and error, we don’t really have a leg to stand on, other than to offer an opinion from time to time.

So we spend long hours reminiscing while, in reality, our lives could very well be condensed into a 2-hour movie of the week. For the majority of us, the highs and lows of our lives are merely Blink & Boom to the rest of the world. 

But to those who love us and will long remember us, I hope that we can make a difference.

You don’t need to write a memoir. A few handwritten stories about your childhood along with some photographs to illustrate your recollections will be treasures for future generations who never had the chance to meet you or who were too young to remember. Don’t worry about leaving cash and other riches to your loved ones. Make provisions for someone who loves to cook to receive the gift of your favorite recipes and those of your mother and grandmothers before you.

Lyrics and recordings of songs you sang to the babies will trigger wonderful warm memories for them, even into adulthood. They’ll likely sing them to their own babies one day.

And the most treasured gift of all when someone is missing a loved one who has passed on is a video with the sound of their voice.

Use your time wisely. Spend your days not just reminiscing, but actively making memories. It’s the hours you spend with those you love that will live on in their hearts for all time.

To the younger generation, one thing we should all have learned from the past three years of this pandemic — tomorrow is not guaranteed no matter our age. Be forewarned that time is fleeting.

Any one of us could be gone tomorrow.

Make the phone call. Pay the visit. Tell someone you love them. Tell them how they have impacted your life because … Blink & Boom.