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Beverly Godfrey column: As time goes by, years are getting shorter

Beverly Godfrey

Life came full circle, in a way, Thursday at the Spirit Valley Days parade.

My 12-year-old daughter was among volunteers who dressed up like book characters to march for the West Duluth public library. They borrowed costumes from the Duluth Playhouse and offered a pretty convincing King and Queen of Hearts, Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, Anne of Green Gables, Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, Little Red Riding Hood, and my daughter’s part, Snow White.

She met Snow White at Disney World when she was 4. She wore a Snow White dress that day, too, and seemed to get a little extra attention because of the matching outfits. She had a lipstick print on her forehead for the rest of the day after being kissed. She was the perfect age and didn’t stop to question how this could be “the real” Snow White; it just was.

There were some little girls at the parade who seemed to have the same reaction. The costume was wonderful, and kids chased her down the street for hugs and photos. She asked them their names in her best Snow White voice. A couple of the kids said they’d met her before — at Disney World.

“Oh yes!” she said. “I remember you!”

I’m left wondering: How can a child grow up so much in eight years? It seems like last week we were in Florida, and she was a star-struck preschooler who almost couldn’t speak because she was so agog at getting Snow White’s autograph. Now, she can act the part herself, and the red lipstick is on her lips instead of her forehead.

I get this head-shaking feeling, too, when my teenage son picks up the couch so I can vacuum under it. Or when my younger daughter says she’s not hungry because she already made herself lunch. Or when my little one, at age 3, builds a block tower with a window and tells me it’s a “portal.” How did that word get into his vocabulary? None of them should be old enough for any of this stuff.

This spring, I noticed an uptick in the number of friends I had whose children were graduating from high school, despite them being 5 years old not too long ago. In three years, it’ll be my turn when my oldest graduates.

I was at my local grocery store recently when I saw a boy from down the street collecting shopping carts. He said he’d been working there for two weeks. I’ve seen him since he was little, riding his bike down the street, and now he has a job. He suggested my son apply there, too. That would be great, but I might want to start shopping somewhere else because it would be too big a mind-flip to see him. I used to lift that kid up to sit in the cart, but soon, he could be the one pushing the carts back into the store. It doesn’t matter how much people say it, until it’s happening to you, it’s impossible to believe how quickly time passes.

“The days are long, but the years are short.” That’s a common quote whose origin I don’t know, but it’s proving to be true.

And someday — I hope — I’ll have a grandchild who’s bagging my groceries or marching in a parade. Won’t that be a trip?

Beverly Godfrey is a News Tribune columnist and copy editor. You can reach her at

Beverly Godfrey
Beverly Godfrey is a News Tribune copy editor and columnist. You can reach her at  
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