I believe I can stop time.
Ever since I can remember, I have been rushing to move into the future, obsessed with time, in a hurry to be older and to “grow up.” As a child, I would always say that I was the age I would be at my next birthday – not to fool anyone, but because I felt the powerful magnetic pull of that new year and all of the newness and knowledge that it would hold. I still sometimes do that. If life was a car, mine was fast, and I was flooring it the whole way. I would eventually skip grades and graduate high school early, in order to move into that land of milk and honey – college, and “the future.”
Perhaps the biggest achievement of my college days was not my degree, but finding my terrific husband. I married in a hurry too – after a courtship of only a few months.
Thirteen years and three children later, I find that I am learning some of the hard lessons about time.
When my children were small, I was an efficiency expert. I was ready to cram as many tasks into as few minutes as possible trying to learn new languages while I changed diapers or made dinner – trying to fit in a little piano practice or exercise while the kids were busy playing Legos. I was a clock watcher.
My husband was an expert clock ignorer. He would take the kids up to put them to bed after a long day working, and spend huge amounts of time with them just talking and laughing about the day. I would be thinking of the time “Better get to sleep,” I would be saying to myself, “tomorrow comes before we know it.”
Now tomorrow does come that fast. Every time I hold my youngest son close, some part of me realizes that third graders usually don’t cuddle up as close as second graders do, and soon I will be missing that great feeling of his warm body close to mine and his hair in my face.
Nowadays there are so many good experiences and activities that my children can be involved in, sports, lessons, school activities… The speed of our lives adds a new dimension to that old cliché: “they grow up so fast.” . Sometimes I feel helpless, tied to a never ending list of things to do. But I also have realized that there are things we must do, things we could do, and things that can be left undone. I have to hold on to the conviction that the speed of our lives is up to me, and how I spend my time is too. Is this the night I will stop fretting about what needs to be done, and fall asleep snuggled close, reading with one of my sons? After all of the years of charging relentlessly into the future, I finally see the value of today. Of now. Of this moment. I do not have to get caught up in the race with time, I believe it is not too late to make time stop.
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