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Slowing Down Time

Slowing down time by Andrea Passman Candell, MA

Visiting our boys elementary school makes my heart flutter. I need to catch my breath. Ironically, I got the same feeling on space-mountain this year. I walk past classrooms with artwork done in Crayola and it hits me…This ride is flying by.

Watching the stage my kids are in wakes up memories from when I was in that stage myself. Was racing from Ms. Metcalf’s classroom to the basketball courts for a game of four-square really all that long ago? How I’d make a wish at my softball games, “please don’t let me strike out” when it was my turn up to bat. And the days when trading a glossy sticker for a puffy one was the best deal ever. One memory brings up another, then another. And keeps going…

A friend recently introduced us to her favorite eighties cover band. We were ranting over which grade we knew that Styxx song from. Then during a REO Speedwagon cover, I leaned in to make out with my husband as if we were at a school dance. Oh, wait. I’m 39.

Time is a crazy concept that continues to surprise me. Especially when I plan something that initially seems so far out into the future, and then the date arrives. The theme now is how I’m inching closer to my 40th. Hard to believe that’s months away, yet I can still remember my dad turning forty.

I can’t begin to count how many times parents of the older kids say, “It goes by so quickly!” Their words are gentle reminders to hold on tight to the passage we’re in - right now. And to approach this ride as we would a roller coaster: Hands Up. Big Smile. Deep Breathe.

With distractions of text and email replies, our generation has to work a little harder to stay in the here and now. Or we could easily miss something. To absorb these days, I take a pledge to slow down and stay present.

This morning when my youngest was putting on his sneakers I did something different. Instead of rushing him out the door, I sat and watched. Hoping my eyes would act like a camera, and file this picture in my mind so I’d remember it forever. How his tiny fingers tried to fasten the Velcro on his Nikes. I giggled at his grunts. His way of expressing he’s up to hard work. And when he proudly yelled to his big brother, “Look! Look! I did it!” I smiled when I saw that his sneakers were on the opposite feet.

With a practice to: Listen. Watch. Be present. Engage. Then maybe we can actually slow down time.

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