The Juxtaposition of Time

Time is such an interesting topic. One I have been fascinated with since childhood and monopolizes much of my Type A thoughts today. My younger mind was more concerned with the slow passage of time; when it seemed like my next birthday would never arrive. Conversely, now firmly in adulthood, there are never enough hours in the day! I manically check the clock trying to keep our family’s daily schedule afloat.

Time seemingly takes on a new meaning come parenthood. For it is no longer your own. Yet, you are always acutely aware of its presence given the repetitive countdowns on a daily basis. “Half hour to bedtime, 10 minutes, 5 minutes,” and so on. Such countdowns serve to convey the concept of time before young kids grasp the subject themselves. Maybe if they could tell time they would better understand the frustration of the passing minutes as they move at a glacial pace to get out the door.

The Juxtaposition of Time | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Days at home with a toddler can seem to drag forever, while the years pass at an instant. Especially in the depths of winter, I find myself checking the clock mid-morning, continuously shocked to discover it is not yet 10 am. We have seemingly tried all the toys in our house and nothing has kept her occupied. What will we do the rest of the day? I remain firm in my belief that it is not a parent’s role to entertain their children, but her young age means that strong guidance is still needed. Not to mention preferred given that there are certain developmental skills we are working to improve.

It is in these moments that I find myself back to wishing time to pass more quickly. It is 5 o’clock somewhere, right? That would mean the witching hour that occurs from 4-5pm daily would be over, and footsteps would soon echo in the mudroom announcing Dad’s arrival. It is through a reset button is hit when the girls hear him walk through that door. This is the only way we can enjoy a peaceful family dinner and impromptu dance party before bedtime.

How could I not want to soak up these moments while the girls are young? I know that when they are grown I will long for the moments when their whole world centers on our family. Thus, the juxtaposition of time. Old baby photos stir such feelings as I long for the moments captured on film. There is nothing better than newborn baby snuggles! Yet, the next day I find myself hoping again for time to pick up the pace.   

Such realization stirs my mom guilt to its core. How could I wish away the baby years? Maybe my desire for speed mode is a defense mechanism since her premature arrival was so jarring. I always prayed for the future as it meant our extended NICU stay would come to an end. Life could return to “normal.” Did this wishing for the future just become my habitual mindset? I should enjoy this special time with my girls. I know that I am lucky to have the opportunity.

As I acknowledge my desire to speed through the baby years I am jarred by the realization that my firstborn is starting Kindergarten in the Fall. It barely seems possible, wasn’t she born just yesterday? Where have the years gone? As I filled out the enrollment forms there were tears in my eyes. I realized how quickly the time goes when they are little. This past year has been a special one, full of “girl time” as she lovingly refers to our quality time. It has been amazing to watch her personality bloom. She easily morphs from a girly girl, to an avid basketball fan, to watching endless Timberwolves games with her Dad.

So, it seems my battle with time continues. Can I simultaneously have it speed up and slow down? Remember that show in the 80’s, Out of This World, in which the girl could touch her fingers together to freeze time. That would be my superpower if such a wish were ever granted. I guess the moral of the story is to make the most of the time we have. Every moment will not be glamorous, days will be long, but all serve to build wonderful memories we will cherish in the years ahead!

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