Monday, February 28, 2011

The Gift of Time

Time is one of the most confounding intangibles in life. We have such a love/hate relationship with it. When we're stuck in a boring class in college, we need it to move faster. When we're racing to make it to carpool line as adults, we need it to move slower. There is no way to control time itself, only ways to learn to manage the time God gives an hour, in a day, in a month, in a year, in a lifetime.

If I could choose one art to master, it would be not just managing time, but savoring time. As parents we wish for nothing other than the ability to stop time altogether in those especially poignant moments with our little ones. I sometimes rush so much through my day struggling to make it to one location or another that I find myself at night staring at my sleeping babies wondering how in the world I let the day slip by me so fast. Did I love them enough today? Did I validate them? Can I criticize a little less tomorrow? Can I listen more attentively---even when I'm listening to the fourth recap of how Spongebob drove Squidward insane on today's episode?

No matter how confounding or complicated our relationship with the concept is, there is no denying time is one of the greatest gifts we've been given. Tomorrow I will try harder to be present in my children's lives. I will try to make eye contact more often, reminding myself that what seems trivial to me is extremely important to them. I will examine and praise each rock, pine cone, and acorn Hudson and Lawson gather for their "collections" and remember they're trying to convey their appreciation for nature. I will try not to cringe as Camden gives me the run-down of every classmate's behavior for the day and remember what he's trying to tell me is that his behavior was exemplary and he wants me to be proud of him. When Scout cries after me to pick her up for the fifteenth time, I'll try and keep in mind she's telling me she loves me and needs me to help her feel safe, loved, and secure. Each of these moments is a gift; sometimes I just need to be reminded of that.

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