Time


SONY DSCI don’t understand time.   I don’t know how it flows, or where it goes when it leaves me.  I don’t know how it can change its pace, morphing from a snail’s pace to a rush without my seeing it shift.

I don’t know where my time has gone.

Just a moment ago, truly, I had a houseful of children.  They were hungry, and noisy and argumentative and loving.  They filled every corner of this place, every day.

Just a split second ago, I was getting ready for Santa.  Hiding toys in the attic, sneaking stocking stuffers into every shopping trip, disguising my handwriting as I put their names on those brightly wrapped treasures.

Time moved steadily and solidly for so many years that it lulled me into trusting it.  Oh, I felt the speed with which my babies changed from whimpers to words, I did. I knew that time was moving, but I felt that I was born along on that river, carried with my children toward a distant future.  Time passed, and my babies grew, but they were still right there beside me, riding the flood.  And somehow, for some reason, I let time trick me into thinking that they always would be there beside me. As children.  As my very own special ones. As mine.

I didn’t see it when sneaky, conniving time decided to speed up and race along so fast that I never saw it leave.  I must have been resting, tricked into closing my eyes, trusting in the steady pace of time’s flow.  I must have missed the moment when time rushed by in a swirl of icy wind, carrying my children over the riverbank and into adulthood.  I must have looked away, for only a second, but it was too long.

Now I am here, the mother of adults.  Hoping to have them all together for a few brief hours at Christmas so that I can beg time to stop, to slow its endless march for just a fragment of a day, to freeze in place for me, just this once.

Before it once again gathers us all in its powerful arms and races away with unstoppable speed, into the night, into tomorrow, into a time when this Christmas feels as if it happened only a moment ago.

20 thoughts on “Time

  1. As always I loved your post. Funny thing how incredibly difficult it was/is commenting from my kindle. Each time I tried to sign in, the auto- correct thing kept changing my username to Gingrich??? It took me three tries, so that is how badly I wanted to like your post.

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    • I can’t wait to have those grandkids, but even then, I know that I will miss the feeling of my own in my arms.

      I sure didn’t realize any of this when I was in the middle of the toddlers and diapers phase myself. That’s part of what makes it hard now. I want to go back and try it again, see if I can squeeze one more drop of pleasure from the whole experience.

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  2. I can’t remember where I heard (NPR) or read this (trusty Internet), but scientific studies show that our (perception of) time actually does speed up as we age–just another one of life’s cosmic cruelties, I suppose–the fewer years, months, days, hours, minutes, and moments we have, the quicker they seem to pass. Good times!

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  3. Momshieb, this was really beautiful! It made me very weepy as I’m making all the last minute preparations for the girls to come home holding my grandson and a dog in their arms. The time with them did go fast, didn’t it? Thank you for reminding me to slow down and embrace each moment with them instead of getting caught up in my “to do” lists to produce the perfect family Christmas. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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    • Merry Christmas to you, dear Eleanor! You bring such warmth and joy to all of us who read your work! I wish I could share a nice big eggnog and rum with you sometime! (actually, I’d rather have a nice cold prosecco, but I’m trying to stay with the whole holiday theme…..) Have a wonderful time with that beautiful grandbaby!!

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