When I was young, each day felt like a lifetime. It didn’t last. Soon, adults starting handing me that old cliche about time moving faster as you age, but I blew them off. I was invincible. Now it’s a shock that I’m no longer 16.
When I had babies, time did slow – for awhile. You marvel in their firsts, and yours, but you know it won’t last. All of a sudden, you find yourself looking into their slimming, smartening faces, and you can hear the clock’s tick.
When Mr15 was little, I used to peer down into his blue eyes and tell him that one day, I’d be craning my neck to see them up there, and he’d laugh. Now, he sighs when I call him into the kitchen so I can borrow his long arms to reach a top shelf. I feel like a girl when those arms hug me goodnight. Now I bend down to look into Mr10’s brown eyes and tell him it’s just a matter of time.
Early in motherhood, I made a conscious decision to respect time’s wings. I promised myself I’d be present for my kids – in the present – no matter their age. I would do my best to get inside the moments I have with them in our home, to relate to them as interesting beings separate from me, and revel in the little things, every day. Not-so-fun jobs – rubbing vomiting backs, packing lunches with my eyes closed – aren’t tough because my subconscious knows they will vanish soon. And there are always new firsts – boys ringing the bell, girls sneaking out, dreaded driving lessons.
Since time flies whether or not you’re having fun, I try to make my own fun. And yet, when the alarm goes off, sometimes I wake up as Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, lost in the repetition that threatens to erase memories. Suddenly, I’m wondering how the weekend can possibly be here. On those days, I can’t believe my kids will soon be off to camp and it hits me that every night this week, they’ve been in their rooms on their laptops and I don’t know how the math test went or what they’re planning for Saturday night.
That’s when I kick myself in the pants to go knock on their doors and lie on their beds and ask to share the earphones or to check out their Tumblr page. That’s when I remind myself that anytime is a good time to connect about anything. Anytime meaning now.
I’m not one to regret the past or worry about the future. When I see a mom nursing her newborn, I don’t long for the days my teens smelled like baby powder instead of sweat. Both smell sweet to me. I don’t do rewinds or fast forwards. I just want to pause every once in awhile and enjoy the life out of what’s in front of me. So I do.