Saturday Single No. 78

Originally posted June 28, 2008

I imagine my friend Rob and his wife, Barb – like many parents in any year – look at themselves sometimes and say, “How did this happen so quickly?”

Earlier this month, their younger daughter, Diedre, the third of three children, graduated from high school, and when late summer arrives and she heads off to college, Rob and Barb will have an empty nest. I imagine it feels odd now and will feel more so come the late summer.

The Texas Gal and I have no children. Parenthood wasn’t in the plans this time around. But we’ve seen our friends’ and relatives’ children grow, mature and prosper, watching those young folk separately in the years before we met and together for the past eight years. Twice before, we’ve been to Rob and Barb’s home in St. Francis for receptions celebrating graduations. Next summer, no doubt, we’ll head down to New Ulm to celebrate the graduation of Rick and Ellen’s son; we’ve been to their home for one previous reception, somehow missing the graduation of their elder daughter.

And today, we’ll go to Rob and Barb’s for the third time, for the reception celebrating Diedre’s accomplishments. Like the others before her, she is a bright and capable young person, and we wish her all the joys she can find, as she moves into the next stage of her life.

Also moving into the next stages of their lives are her parents, and we wish them well, too, of course. I have no advice for any of them: Diedre is by this time no doubt utterly weary of advice from well-meaning adults. And Rob and Barb – having navigated the rocks and shoals of parenthood – need no counsel from me.

What I have for the parents is a rumination, pulled from an album I’ve frequently brought to Rob and Barb’s home during visits. (“You always bring that record with the picture of the old people on the cover,” Rob would say when he saw Fairport Convention’s Unhalfbricking in the pile of records I’d selected for whatever occasion. But whenever I put the record on the stereo, he always enjoyed it.) As the two of them find moments after today’s busy-ness, I’m sure they’ll contemplate the passage of time.

So, for Rob and Barb – and for all parents everywhere pondering how their small ones grew up so fast – here’s Fairport Convention’s “Who Knows Where The Time Goes,” today’s Saturday Single.

Fairport Convention – “Who Knows Where The Time Goes” [1969]

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