I remember on a cold December morning back in 2007, sitting at my kitchen table and crying. It happened to be the day of my son’s bris (a ritual Jewish circumcision and naming ceremony). My father assumed that I was understandably emotional about everything that I and my newborn son would face that day. But instead I remember I looked at him and said that I was crying because I couldn’t believe how old he was. 7 whole days! Can you believe it? I had waited so many months for him, counted down every second and then he was finally here! And now a whole week had gone by in what seemed like the blink of an eye and I was humbled by the idea that the moments that would follow would be equally fleeting; that we would be on a perpetual fast forward button. I didn’t have a newborn! I had a week old baby, a real old timer. I remember quite clearly what my father did next. He yelled, “Ronni! [my mother] Get in here! You won’t believe this one!” And then the two of them laughed at me. Not with me, but truly at me. One of those great, silent, belly shaking laughs. I’m pretty sure one or both of them might have cried and/or peed at my expense. At the time, I didn’t get what was so funny.
Obviously now I get what a ridiculous statement it was. In just about 8 weeks my newborn will turn 5. How did that happen? The quality of time as a grown up and specifically as a parent has become so bizarre. I remember as a child that life and time seemed endless, long, stretched before me like a road with no end. Summers went on forever. So did tests and homework and stress about school dances and first dates and then I blinked. And I was married. And I blinked again and I was pregnant. And honestly that’s how it feels. Like one minute I was on this long slow meandering trip through life and now I’m on this treadmill where someone has amped the speed and I can’t quite catch up and I’m trying to hold on tighter and tighter to the bars in an effort to slow it all down.
It’s funny because trust me, there are those days where the kids are intensely crabby and Phil is traveling and it’s snowing or raining and we can’t gooutside and I catch myself thinking, I just have to come up with 4 more hours of original mom programming and then blessed bedtime! And is it really so wrong to put your kids to bed at 6pm? I mean, it’s getting dark earlier and they can’t tell time yet. They won’t really know the difference. But then are those moments where my floors are covered with fire engines and princesses and they are playing together under a blanket pretending it’s a fort and I want to literally hit a pause button somewhere and just freeze it and keep them 4 and 2 forever. I can’t quite reconcile how I seem to feel both emotions so much in equal measure. But perhaps that’s the exactly the problem. Trying to pick and choose and analyze moment to moment rather than just live it.
I blink again and it’s a beautiful fall afternoon. Not the crisp kind but an unusually warm one: sunny with blindingly beautiful colors all around. I am jogging and my body doesn’t quite know what is happening because it’s been that long since I exercised. I feel my heart beating up in the back of my throat, the Jackson Five beating in my ears, leaves crunching underneath. Two unbelievably amazing little people spot me and from the blur of our house run toward me. My feet are slow, the moments feel fast. I am not examining it or shuffling through it. I am in it. And it feels amazing.