When my kids were babies, I always hated when well-intentioned veteran parents would remind me to Enjoy it! It goes so fast!
No, I wanted to say, it absolutely does NOT go fast.
In fact, there were times that felt like I was living in a time warp. A 10-minute tantrum felt more like an hour. A 45-minute wait in the pediatrician’s office with a sick kid felt more like 3 hours. A 2.5-hour car ride to see family in Wisconsin with a crying baby in the back seat may as well have been a cross-country road trip. And those seemingly endless months when the baby was up every 2-3 hours every damn night felt like a decade. At least.
Oh, I know that these people meant well and that they were making these comments out of a sense of longing and reminiscing, but every time I heard someone tell me that these years “go so fast!” I wanted to scream: Do you have any idea how totally NOT FAST it is going?!?! How can I speed things up a little bit?
And even though my kids are just a little older – still young, of course, but older enough – I still hate when people tell me that it goes so fast. Because now I want to cry YES! I know! It goes so fast, WAY TOO FAST! How can I slow things down a little bit?
There are still hours and days and weeks that seem to last longer than is scientifically possible, but for the first time in the past eight years I am no longer eager to speed things up so I can move on to the next phase. For the first time, I am happy just where we are and I find myself wishing that, instead of moving quickly forward, I could linger here in this place for a little while longer. I can almost feel myself pining for and reminiscing about something that isn’t gone just yet, but that I know soon will be.
If there is one universal truth it is that time marches on. Sometimes so slowly that it doesn’t seem scientifically possible, other times so quickly that it just doesn’t seem fair. But time moves. Children grow. Circumstances change. We must move and grow and change along with them.
And I suppose, deep down, what we might be most afraid of isn’t the passage of time or even the inevitable changes that go along with it. Maybe what we’re most afraid of is that, as the sands of time continue to fall and as the changing and growing goes on all around us, all this goodness will be buried at the bottom of the hourglass, forgotten.
Afraid that our kids will forget how much we cared about them. Afraid that our spouses will forget how much we loved them. Afraid that our parents will forget how much we admired them. Afraid that our friends will forget how much we enjoyed them. Afraid that we, ourselves, will forget how good things were, how good things are, how good things can be.
We want things to stay the same, right where they are, so that we can keep on doing what we’re doing, so that it all won’t be forgotten.
But, really, if we have lived well and loved much, the likelihood that it could ever be forgotten is as impossible as one day being any longer or any shorter than 86,400 individual moments.
A scientific impossibility.
Though I still think that those half-hour-long-middle-of-Target-while-we’re-just-trying-to-buy-toilet-paper-and-milk-tantrums are a heck of a lot longer than 30 minutes.
When do you wish you could speed up or slow down time?
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