Friday, May 20, 2011

Reflections On Time: Part I

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 my 3 month old daughter, Juliet, content and peaceful, listening to the world spin outside.

I BLINK and I am suddenly in the car, racing to pick up Maddie from preschool. 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 now, and appreciate any TIME that is given to me.

All I need is 5 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 2 years now.

Having an hour...Wow. I cannot even conceive of this notion. My mind overheats.

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.

(more stories, musings, and reverie @


Craig Grella said...

I know exactly what you mean about time. I wrote a post about it the other day, and how fathers, new fathers in particular, can find a few extra minutes in the day.

One of the big changes when i became a dad was how much time i had for things like tv or movies. Before kids I watched more tv and movies that i probably should have. Then almost overnight it all went away.

Thank god for DVRs, not watching commercials saves me almost 20 minutes on each hour long show. And when you've got a baby that only naps for a few minutes at a time, you're rushed to get the basics done, just like you say. Shower, shave, eat, and a few errands around the house. said...

In 1992 I was brushing my new 5 year old step-son's teeth and giving him a bath, new and nervous. In 2011 my son is in grad-school, and his sisters are sweating the high school and college mills on the New New York school system.

This is the reality of what it means to be human, not just a parent. Well put and elegant. A prose poem more than a post? The Sphinx knew it when she hinted that a man's life is just a day.

This is the weakness of the internet and sites like this. A post about something unusual and full of modern angst, the fear of the black man, garners 50+ replies, but this gets only, now, 2.

Isn't this the reason for the "Like" button on Facebook? Well, consider this post liked.

Anonymous said...

Thank you both for your comments. Yes, Craig, DVR's are wonderful inventions. Now if only they could invent one that helps clean up around the house. And rtb, yes, this was one of my more poetic musings, not that controversial really, just a universal truth that perhaps elicits a knowing nod. I like to think of it as the calm after the storm.

Luma said...

Thanks for your inspiring reflection on time.

I remeber when our children were toddlers my wife and I would ask ourselves "what did we used to do with all that time we had?".

My kids have taught me the beauty of the daily 15-20 minute time slot for creative projects.

Our day is now filled with these little micro-pockets of fun.

A song before school, a shower before dinner, a bit of homework here, a play on the oval there. A thousand 'little bits' in a day, making for a feast of experience.

If I look for enough pockets of 5-15 minutes of creative opportunity...time ceases to exist. It is replaced by an eternal unfolding moment of pure mystery and potential.

Bring it on!

Paul Servelle said...

From my blog an excerpt:

An All But Empty Tool Box

When all you have in your tool-box is a hammer, everything begins
to look like a nail…

Due to the vagaries of life, I have been a primary care giver for two sets of biological children.

My first years were 1969 - 1975. My first child was a daughter born in 1969. I was a graduate student and part-time college instructor. These years were during the counter-culture period. A Dad and his daughter were viewed as trend setters and breaking new ground. It was assumed that I would be a model for male parenting for the future.

My second period began in 1994 with the birth of my third child and first son. At age 51 I was almost always mistaken as the grandfather. As a grandfather with a feminine touch and therefore a welcome and admired addition.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Luma - your comment is most uplifting. Very zen. I like your imagery of a "feast". And Paul - sounds like you have led an interesting life so far, with many more adventures to come. Rock on, guys! Dadda Power!

ACM said...

Some things fly by, and other times (especially days at home with a very small child) can seem to give you a vast and overly intimate knowledge of every minute in the day. Both feel different during parenting than anything that went before. Also amazing is that way that every day brings a new skill or insight to your kid, long after you sort of secretly feel like they must have mastered most of the basic stuff...