Time in general, but especially time when you are staying at home with small children, or Mama Time, is a tricky thing. It’s both your best friend and your worst enemy, going simultaneously too fast and too slow.
One minute Carter is lying on the ottoman cooing at the ceiling fan, then I blink, and he’s writing his alphabet and reading words that no three year old should be able to pronounce. One second Collin is sleeping on my chest in the Baby Bjorn, then I blink again and he is drinking from a cup and trying to put on his own shoes. The months pass like those cartoon calendars that shed pages like confetti when they’re trying to segue from one time to another. Like in the movie Notting Hill (does anyone else love that one like I do?) when Hugh Grant is walking down the street and the season changes from autumn to winter to spring while he strolls. Calendar time is sprinting forward, full speed, toward an invisible finish line somewhere in the distant but increasingly closer future.
But that’s only half of the story. There’s also the day-to-day time, the clock time. That time is like a slow turtle crossing the street and you just hope he makes it there without any blood or guts. Or like a sloth clinging to a tree branch moving…each…toe…one…at…a…time and inching forward at a glacial pace. In fact yes, it’s like a glacier…moving, yes, but so slowly you want to poke your eyeballs out sometimes. It’s that last hour before Dada gets home from work when you’ve done everything you can think of to keep the kiddos entertained and the whining is incessant and it’s rainy outside. Those times when I stare at the clock and the hands almost move in reverse. The times when I repeat inside my head that it’s such a blessing to be able to stay at home with my children, even if I really just want to hide in the closet with the door shut so they can’t find me and eat cookies.
It’s the brutal truth of Mama Time…clock time can’t go fast enough but calendar time goes too fast. We spend half our lives willing time forward with all of our might and the other half pleading with it to please, pretty please, slow down and keep our babies small. Whenever I really stop and look at them, I see how long Carter’s limbs have gotten, how steady Collin’s steps have become. I see the way they play together now and don’t need me to do every little thing for them anymore. While those things make me oh-so proud of them they also make the tears pool in my eyes when I see their little lives moving in fast forward. I know it’s going to be a few more blinks before they’re graduating, leaving home and having beautiful, amazing lives of their own. (And yes, I’m crying now.)
So again, I will remind myself when it’s 4:17pm, the whining is steady and I want nothing more than to see my husband walk in the door…it’s a blessing, this Mama Time I have with them. Before school starts, before I’m uncool, before all of that big kid and big life stuff happens.