As I get older and wiser, I’ve learned that one of the biggest lessons in life is to learn how to respect time. There are few things more powerful than time.
As a modern woman who, as Amy Westervelt put it in the Huffington Post this week, might just have it all (but it sucks sometimes,) I have a unique relationship with time. I am nearly always in a bit of a rush. I abuse time in so many ways. Sometimes I wish it away and sometimes I fight like hell to slow it down. I bide time, I need time, I rush time. And time marches on, just as it always will. Although I know there are days that are scientifically slightly shorter and slightly longer, the weight of one second, one minute, one hour is always the same. Because that is true, your worst hour was no longer than your best, but the human mind and heart don’t remember it that way.
Tonight I got home late after stopping for groceries (always, the groceries!) after work. My hubby, with whom I have not truly connected all week, helped carry in the loot and then took off to head back to work to fix a problem. I put them away, pulled the big kids away from their devices and their rooms, recruited all four kids to help clear a soggy table after a drink spilled, changed my clothes and settled them all down for “family game night” at that very table (bare wood for now). The olders and I played rummy and the youngers attempted Nemo Memory. We had about ten minutes of perfect peace before it all went downhill.
The littlest, who some know as Luke though I have been known to call him “the last and the baddest,” was really testing me. He’s got a bit of a potty mouth, usually of the “shut up/butthead/idiot” variety. He’s loud. He often teeters toward downright mean. He’s funny, too, though. And sweet and original and smart. But, tonight, he blew all of his “last chances” right out the window. I warned him in the most even-tempered tone I could manage, far more times than I said I would.
And, finally, it was too much. I lassoed he and Colby up the steps, put them to bed and returned to the table to finish my game. And Luke, as he often does, chose that time to unleash his sad tears in a torrent of regret. His wails forced out even Colby, who, as many of you know, doesn’t hear that well. But even Colby has limits.
I thought of those times as a kid, and even, sometimes, times as an adult, where I just needed that cleansing cry. And I think a good regretful cry session does Luke a lot of good every now and then.
So we let it roll for awhile. And finally, mercifully, the rummy hand ended, and I could put all four kiddos in bed. It was nearly 9 p.m.
I soothed Luke by drying his tears, covering him back up and finally nestling in between he and Colby in the double bed they sleep in, laying in the wrong direction. (They are still short enough to pull this off.) And I rubbed that silky soft little back and thought about time.
Part of me wanted to get out of there and–what? Read? Catch up on Downton Abbey? Drink some more wine in honor of National Drink Wine Day? (It’s real, go have a glass!)
The other part of me thought about how that back was going to grow right along with the kid to whom it belonged. That part of me thought about how much has changed in twelve years and how much more change is bound to occur in the next twelve years. (I honestly can’t bear to think about it….)
I thought about how these kids don’t keep and time won’t wait. And how I yearn for a new, bigger house, but that I’ll miss this one and the memories it holds like the heart inside of me. For this is where we began. This is where those babies came to live and love and dream and fight.
Time can be both a bastard and a blessing. But mostly, it just is. And we humans have to wrap our minds and our hearts around the fact that we can’t control any of it. That we can’t truly get rid of it or get it back or change any one thing about it. We are here, now, at its mercy, under its reign. And we won’t always be.
Time is going to outlast us all. Make the most of yours.