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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Time

“I hate time,” said Megan this morning. I knew immediately why. She has to wait eight more days until her tenth birthday. She can’t wait to hit the double digits.

Getting older has its advantages, I realize. Eight days no longer feels like an eternity. Ten years is a chapter, not the whole book. Still, Megan’s tenth birthday marks two anniversaries—the span of her life and my journey as a mother—so, it seems as good a time as any to reflect on what I’ve learnt so far. Yesterday made me admit that I’ve improved at patience and letting go, though this is more a reflection on how ungracious I was during the baby and toddler years than on my current enlightenment. When my children were younger, I tried to squeeze my writing into cracks of time, when Megan fell asleep in the car or in the stroller mid-morning or during the odd hour I’d swap with another mom. When Luke came along, it got even harder since Megan no longer napped much, and she jealously interrupted when I tried to nurse him to sleep. There were whole years that I desperately scratched out two hours a week to write, feeling that my selfhood was being drained whenever a sick child refused to nap or a round of pink eye cancelled a play day. Although I felt clear that caring for my children was my first priority, selflessness didn’t come easily to me.

Maybe I’m just not as desperate because I get so much more time for my own work now that they’re both in school. I juggle writing and teaching, but generally I get enough writing time to keep my soul from parching. Not in the last few weeks, though. Between our Thanksgiving trip and the end of the semester grading, I haven’t had time to write anything other than this blog for three weeks. So when I entered my grades Sunday night, I was really looking forward to five days in a row of writing, enough to get back into my new book before Christmas break stalls my momentum again. Then in the early hours of Monday morning, Tom and I were woken by the sound of Megan whimpering from a fever. I knew immediately what it meant: I’d be staying home Monday with Megan.

There were many nice things about my day with Megan, but one of them was noticing that I took it in stride in a way I wouldn’t have years ago. Motherhood has been chipping away at my selfishness and giving me plenty of practice at letting go of my agenda. It’s also taught me that ten years goes quickly, so a day is not worth sweating about. As a result, I was able to just enjoy being with Megan, giving her little jobs around the house as she felt better, discussing Harry Potter and her birthday with her. She is getting more mature. It’s nice to notice that I am, too.

The other anniversary that’s coming up in a few days is my mom’s death. It’s just another reminder of the passage of time and the need for all of us to learn to let go.

2 Comments:

Blogger juliloquy said...

Thank you for reminding me that parenting will not always be so all-time-consuming as it currently is for me. And thanks, too for illustrating that one day lost is not a crisis.

Hope Megan's birthday is fantastic!

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I just drop in occasionally, can you tell me a post where I can find info on what your new book is about?

8:27 PM  

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