Time. It can feel like slow drops in a bucket or a wave that knocks you plumb off your feet. Time is both short and long, often simultaneously.

My daughter was sitting in the backseat with a friend as I drove them to a local snow cone stand. I overheard them speak about a full schedule of school projects, drama with others, and pure exhaustion.

I glanced at them as they got out of the car and headed out to wait their turn in line. They each told me the name of the flavor they were going to order: red velvet and wedding cake. I couldn’t help but smile as I saw their silhouettes in the afternoon sun as I drove away.

On my way home, I thought upon the weight of their stories: experiencing a first love… and a first heartache; a disappointing grade, and the highs and lows of friendships.

Later that evening, I shared with my daughter that many of the moments that are currently stressing her out will one day be mainly faded memories and forgotten names. Except for a few, most people with whom I considered “my world” in high school have long settled like dried ink in a dusty book. And yet, at the time, these people and experiences gave me chapters and chapters of love, loss, laughter, and living.

I remember thinking “so-in-so” and I would be friends for life or that I would never master Geometry. Funny thing is, I’m still not good at math, but this reality doesn’t bear the weight it did in high school. And those folks whose opinions meant the world to me; well, I couldn’t tell you where they live or what they are doing.

I still have carry-overs… reminders that I was once young, beyond young at heart. I still have a few special friends from high school I keep in touch with who take me down a road of memories: learning to drive, my first date, going through as much hair gel as I did gasoline for my pale yellow 1969 Mustang Fastback.

High school felt like it would never end… until it did.

I thought upon the flavors of snow cones my daughter and her friend enjoyed. Red velvet is still my favorite flavor cupcake. And wedding cake… who doesn’t savor a flavor which represents both love and new beginnings? The kids see snow cones and high school drama while I see life moving at a speed that I cannot, nor would want to, control. Yes, the slow drops in the bucket versus the wave. And yet, both are truth and reality at any given point and age.

I am every age I have ever lived. Today brings me fully into myself: a girl who still loves to laugh and twirl. A girl who, hopefully, has learned along the way to laugh at herself, dust off her skirt when she stumbles, and keep twirling.

Thank you, God, for all the days that bring us to the now. At every stage and age, thank You for holding the bucket and soothing the waves.

So, here is to memories as simple and savored as snow cones. Here are to all moments being lived and to loving all the ages and stages that make us… us.

A Time for Everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

SGLY, dear reader.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier, Instagram: @tiffanysgly, and Twitter: @tiffanychartier.