Time

I kind of miss projects that had a definite start, middle, and end. I don’t mean work projects, because I really don’t miss working all that much, no no no, what I miss is the simple luxury of having time for a project that requires my full attention for longer than a half hour.

Before the children I had all kinds of time on my hands and looking back it seems completely LUDICROUS that I had entire DAYS and NIGHTS to do anything I pleased. More than anything I am wide-eyed at how WASTEFUL I was with all of those lovely hours. When I look at Past Me, I start to sound like an old lady. “Ah, youth!

Right now I have a few spare minutes here and there. Never more than ten or fifteen of them at one time and more likely it’s two or six minutes. And because of our schedule and the ages of my children (1, 3, 5) I am hardly ever alone. This isn’t a complaint, it’s an observation. I am probably alone for less then thirty minutes a day. I like my kids and they’re a lot of fun, but everyone needs alone time. It’s hard to do anything for myself with bits and bobs of time that I may or may not get. I have been trying to make myself a dentist appointment since 2011.

***

I have been thinking a lot lately about seasons of life and how an important and formative season in MY life (The Baby Years) has already happened to me and is already a rather large collection of binary numbers (that render as photos) inside of this very Macbook. One day, I will sort and sift through all of the videos of babies on swings and toddlers learning to Franken-walk. But I can’t yet, I’m already thick into starting up my next season (The Kids Go To School Years). I’ll have time for reminiscing later. The photos and videos will wait.

I wrote out what grade all the kids will be in over the years and it, well, it made me really upset to see an end date on Raising Children. There was a definite feeling of, “Oh. That’s….all we get? It’s going to be…over?” And of course I knew that it would be over and they’d grow up eventually, but to see exactly WHEN that would happen felt very different.

It was so specific!

Here in 2014 is where Claire goes to Kindergarten and there in 2031 is where Preston graduates from high school. That’s only 17 years from now. It’s a long time, but it feels like such a slim window when viewed on paper as a list of dates.

What really made me sad was seeing the countdown backwards from having three children in the house, to two, to one, to none.

Sad isn’t the right word even, it made me feel positively despondent.

Untitled

I started to feel anxious. There are just eleven summers after this one before Claire graduates from high school. ELEVEN! Do you know how many National Parks there are that I want to drag my kids to? How many beaches and states and sno-cone stands? A LOT MORE THAN ELEVEN, THAT’S WHAT.

It’s so easy to say, “some day, when they are older, we will do XYZ” but THERE AREN’T A LOT OF YEARS TO DO IT ALL. I CAN SEE THEM ALL HERE ON MY PAPER AND THERE AREN’T THAT MANY. There aren’t even that many years in the middle where they will want to be seen with us in public. I figure we have maybe 4 or 5 of those. (Maaaaybe.)

And then (oh yes, there’s more on this delightfully melancholy trip into my future) there are only a few weeks left that I’ll have all my kids at home with me. The part where I have everyone at home is almost OVER (it will never happen again!) and I’ve only just today realized it!

Sure, we’re going to take lots of pictures and do lots of things and make enough memories to fill our heads for the rest of our lives, and the children are still certainly MY CHILDREN even after they’ve grown up, but my time with them all under one roof just feels so limited now that I’ve seen the specifics in ink. There’s an end date out there. Some day, all of this laundry and these lunchboxes will simply go away.

***

Charlotte still sometimes comes into our room at night and curls her little space-heater body next to me in a ball, whispering, “Mama, Mama, I yay (lay) with you?”

Oh, yes sweetheart. Yay here and be small and three for as long as you want.



22 Comments

  1. Dr. Maureen
    July 24, 2014 9:44 pm

    I wrote that all down before because I could not keep straight how many years apart from each other they will be, and seeing it all written down was like getting gut punched. It was just so… WRITTEN DOWN. Time marching on! They’re all going to grow up!

    This summer is totally magical because they are all three such fun ages and all of them want to play with me and with each other and how many of those summers do we have left? Sniff.


    • A'Dell
      July 25, 2014 8:04 am

      GUT PUNCH is exactly the phrase I was looking for. It felt so SHOCKING to see! It felt like new information, even though NOTHING ABOUT IT WAS NEW!


  2. Jesabes
    July 24, 2014 9:45 pm

    Well now you’ve gone and made me cry. I’ve been depressedly counting down the days until the end of having all three of them home full-time for the last couple weeks. This afternoon I sat and stared at Margaret and Paul playing together at two in the afternoon and tried to figure out if I could remember that moment forever.


    • A'Dell
      July 25, 2014 8:05 am

      I can’t believe Claire is going to be in school in four weeks. On the one hand, woo, we’re all ready. On the other, SUNRISE SUNSET WAHHHHH.


  3. HereWeGoAJen
    July 24, 2014 9:55 pm

    Part of the reason I really like my kids having December/September birthdays is because it puts them both past the school cut off date which means I get a whole extra year of them both being at home with me. Like if Ryan had been born twenty seven days earlier, he would have gone to college a whole year earlier.


    • A'Dell
      July 25, 2014 8:06 am

      Yes! I have thought this too! Since Claire is an October birthday I got a whole extra year of her at home before Kindergarten and she will get to stay at home with me until she’s allllmost 19. Fourth quarter birthdays are the best way I know to cheat time.


  4. Becca
    July 24, 2014 10:16 pm

    My baby isn’t even born yet and I’ve already been thinking about timelines.


  5. Mom
    July 24, 2014 10:24 pm

    I vividly remember standing in the Jomo Kenyatta Airport crying as Daddy and I said goodbye to you and your brother. Rollin was going to Texas for the summer, and you were heading to A&M. I knew that would be the last time our family unit would be our family unit. I’m crying again just thinking about it. Everything would change. It did. The 4 of us were reunited later that summer and again that Christmas, but still it was different. We’ve had a lot of fun times, and added more family members, and it has all been wonderful, but I do miss those days when we were 4.
    And I’m shocked that you plan to drag your kids to National Parks….just like I did.


    • A'Dell
      July 25, 2014 8:07 am

      Now see, I remember this and I remember being TOTALLY EMBARRASSED by my CRYING MOM because why is this such a big deal it’s just a plane ride. Haaaaaaaaa. Oh ha. I had no clue.


  6. Agirlandaboy
    July 24, 2014 11:08 pm

    I regularly torture myself with this. The worst is Christmas and Halloween. How few years of believing. How few years of dressing up. It makes it really hard to do all the stupid crap I have to do each day because that–the work and bills and dentist appointments–aren’t my life, THEY are. GAH.


    • A'Dell
      July 25, 2014 8:09 am

      I feel like I’ll be lucky if we get to Christmas this year and some kid at school doesn’t ruin Santa for Claire. SIGH.


  7. Erica
    July 24, 2014 11:46 pm

    It’s all so true


  8. susan freel
    July 24, 2014 11:59 pm

    You are so young to have figured all this out.Before you know it you will be staring 60 in the face and realize that even all your grandchildren are potty trained! Enjoy every minute A’Dell!


  9. Carmen
    July 25, 2014 1:49 am

    I have actively resisted making this list because I know it would make me despondent as well. There are too many things to do, too many memories I want to create, too many places I want to show them, and not enough tiiiiiiime. Ack!


  10. Heather
    July 25, 2014 9:48 am

    Yes. THIS. Our shortage of time with the kids (summers, to be specific) is a subject my husband preaches all the time. “We only have so many summers at the cabin with the kids!” and … “Eighteen years is not a lot of time to make childhood memories!” It’s so heartbreaking when you think about it this way – or, see it in black and white like you say – and makes me want to squeeze my kids so tightly.


  11. ASL
    July 25, 2014 10:00 am

    The only time I wish I didn’t work outside the house is RIGHT NOW: summer. I think about how few summers we have left with our four kids, and how many places I want to take them, family trips/experiences I want them to have, and I want so badly to figure out a way to have summers off so we could just noodle around the country in an RV. Or around our town/neighborhood. Whatever, just NOODLE, *together*, before summer gets eaten up by internships and jobs and sleepaway camp and everything else. I’m not cut out for staying at home most of the time, but I’m just about eaten up alive with jealousy of my SAHM friends this time of year.


    • Gaby
      July 25, 2014 10:39 am

      SAME. Oh my gosh, me too, so much. My time with my boys consists of mornings where I’m rushing them out the door to daycare, evenings where I have to rush through making dinner, bath time, some form of bonding time, then bed time, and weekends that are all too often taken up with outside obligations. I just want TIME to laze around, go to the pool, visit story time at the library, enjoy my boys before they’re grown. Stupid need to work.


  12. valerie
    July 25, 2014 1:47 pm

    i love this post – even though it made me cry. my twin girls just turned one and i’m already worried about when they get to high school and go off to college and get married. ahhhh!


  13. Alison
    July 25, 2014 3:25 pm

    I feel like this post should actually have been titled, “HAVE THE THIRD BABY, ALISON”. I am positively not ready for this to be over, and I appreciate that you put things into numbers and dates for me because I haven’t done that and WOE. It’s going too fast. And I need to buy myself 18 more years of having-a-kid-around. Days are slow, years fly by, etc.


    • A'Dell
      July 27, 2014 6:36 pm

      HAAAAAA!I actually DO often find myself thinking that I am relieved that I still have Preston and I get to do age two all over again soon. Third babies are FAB.


  14. Life of a Doctor's Wife
    July 25, 2014 8:45 pm

    Oh A’Dell this is lovely and heartbreaking. I am sitting here sobbing. This time is so precious, isn’t it? And not in an “enjoy every moment” way – it just… It’s so unrepeatable and finite and one moment crystalizes and then it’s gone. Seriously sobbing.


    • A'Dell
      July 27, 2014 6:38 pm

      Oh yes, that’s exactly it! Unrepeatable! Different every day in all of it’s loveliness and awfulness, but not repeatable in the slightest. WEEP.


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