Monday, September 17, 2012

How to Stop Time

I've been thinking a lot lately about the concept of time.  I've heard the saying: The hours are long, but the years are short.  I knew exactly what they meant--right in the moment time seems to drag.  But then suddenly a year has gone by and you have no idea how it flew by so fast.

My baby turned five last month.  I don't know if that's why it hit so hard or if other things factored in, but every time I look at my kids the thought runs through my mind, "How did they grow up so fast?"  Sure, they're still little-almost nine, seven and five.  But how did they get to be so big???

My son is up to my shoulder and about three shoe sizes away from catching up to my feet.  I have to really put in a lot of effort to win when we wrestle because he's a strong kid.  I tell him that I have to pick him up and throw him around now because the days of my being able to are limited.  When I put my arm around him or give him kisses, he usually pushes me away.

Lizzy is turning into a little lady.  When she puts on her more grown up clothes, puts a bow in her hair, and actually tries to act ladylike, it's hard to find a trace of "little girl" in her.  Until she smiles and shows off her missing toothed mouth.

And then there's Joy.  Each of my older children went from snugglers to non-snugglers by the time they were four.  Joy gifted me with an extra year of snuggles, but in the last few months, she has gotten less snuggly.  While she still likes her snuggle time, it's way less frequent.  (I'm tearing up just writing this.)  She rarely wants to hold my hand.  She wants to do things on her own.

This past month I've been blindsided by just how fast time passes by.  I want to yell at time to STOP!  Let me savor this moment when my children still sort of need me.  Let me freeze time so I can enjoy every last drop of this stage of our lives.  Hubby gets annoyed with me because I pull out the camera and take pictures all the time.  Last week as I was cooking dinner I noticed that the house was pretty quiet. I went to investigate and found all three kids and Hubby laying on the floor in David's bedroom building with Legos.  I couldn't not take a picture.  I wanted to remember that perfect moment.  I take pictures so I can remember the moments that are precious to me.

The first time we took David to the beach to watch the sunset, he stood facing the waves, raised his arms into the air and yelled STOP! to the waves.  Trying to stop time is about as effective as David being able to stop the waves.  No matter how many times I tell my kids to stop growing, to stay little forever, it is impossible for them to obey me.  I can't stop time.  I can only savor it.

So I put my book down when Joy declares it to be snuggle time and I give her all the snuggles she wants because very soon she won't want to snuggle with mommy any more.  I stop what I am doing on the computer and look into Lizzy's sweet face when she comes to talk to me.  When she smiles at me, I look into her eyes and smile back because one day I'm going to be desperate to see her smiles rather than her looks of teenager angst.  When David wants to tell me all about his newest Lego creation, I listen with my full attention because soon he will stop sharing his excitement with me.  When all three of my children are clambering to show off their skills, I take a moment to watch them because their desire to show off to me is fleeting, soon to be replaced with embarrassment that mom even exists.  

In nine short years, David will be moving on to college, a full grown man with facial hair and muscles.  I only have nine years left of him being under my roof, sleeping in the room across the hall from me.  And then he'll move out and lead his grownup life.  He'll only have a few spare moments to spend with me.  And I will miss these days with an ache in my heart.

I can't make time stop, but I can suck every last drop of enjoyment out of the moment right now.  I can set aside my distractions, my schedules, my plans to make room for making precious moments with my children.  I can spend as much of my time as possible with them now so that I have no regrets of missed moments when my children all move on with their lives.

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