I have never been more aware of TIME than I have as a parent.
It has become more intimate to me, like an old friend. I have seen how it can change, moment to moment. I understand its’ need to march on.
There I am, on the playground, helping Maddie, now 2, navigate the play structures. She is hesitant, curious, so NEW to it all. Other children rush by, so loud and clumsy. I worry about them trampling my young daughter. They touch her, to help, to play, and I go on high alert, wary of their influence. I wonder where the parents are, appalled at their lack of supervision.
And then, I BLINK, and I am on the other side. We are at the very same park. Maddie, now 4, runs across the sand. She stops to help a toddler off the slide. The mother is there, smiling, but nervous, scanning the play area. I know she is looking for me, the unseen parent, safely ensconced on my bench, my iPhone in hand.
There I am, in our bedroom, holding our 3-month old daughter, Juliet, content and peaceful, listening to the world spin outside.
I BLINK and I am suddenly in the car, looking back at Juliet wiggling in her car seat, as I race to pick up Maddie from preschool. Then racing to the grocery store. Racing to her soccer class. Making dinner. Giving her a bath. Reading books. I do not notice when night falls anymore, but I know it will happen, and I am not surprised when I look out and see the moon instead of the sun.
I cherish the still moments of the day, and appreciate any TIME that is given to me.
All I need is 5 minutes…to do a load of laundry, or wash the dishes, or pay some bills, or take out the trash, or read the newspaper, or mow the lawn, or hang a picture, or check email. I have learned to chip away at tasks. Maddie’s playhouse is about halfway complete, built entirely in 20 minute intervals. I have been working on it for 10 years now.
There I am, waving goodbye to Juliet as she follows the line of tiny kids into their classroom. It is her first day of Kindergarten. Maddie is in 5th grade, an elementary professional. Juliet has tagged along all this time, now it is her turn. She is excited.
I BLINK and we are at Maddie’s 8th Grade Graduation. She is waving to us from across a sea of people, confident and proud. So tall now, with a beautiful smile, and eyes that seem to say, “Thanks dad, I’m good.”
I look down at Juliet who is smiling. She sees her sister but she is bored and anxious, looking for something to do. I am afraid to BLINK.
I think about the future a lot and I try to prepare.
I think about the past a lot, too, with a warm fondness and a deeper appreciation.
All I can do is play along and hope that TIME is kind to me