There’s a certain patience that comes with mothering. If you’ve been going 24/7 in the work world with total autonomy for a while, it can be humbling at first. I remember the way time dripped like honey in those baby days. An hour spent watching, another spent waiting, the next one spent cooing. Love and boredom all wrapped up in one.
Now, with an eight and a ten-year old, it’s all much more rush-rush, hurry up. I remain, though, still in the thrall of other people’s schedules – the half-hour music lesson, the hour-long swim workout followed by the mysterious half of hour in the locker room (about which I have no wiggle room for complaint, having been one of those girls myself who luxuriated in the hot shower, drying herself and then choosing each piece of clothing as though from a wardrobe of hundreds of choices, even though there was just the one pair of underwear, the one shorts, the one shirt – the same ones I’d left in the locker an hour before – and never wondering just what my mother might be doing or needing to do…), the before-bed reading of Harry Potter (please, Ms. Rowling, shorter chapters!). It all boils down to the same sense of time that oozes and splews at its own slow lava pace.
Today, I came home early from work to teach a one-on-one yoga class to a mom who has three kids, spread out almost comically across all stages of life and timelines – from baby time to Little League to text messages. She was already late when I got a call from her saying that her sitter had a flat tire. She believed the sitter. I believed her. And there we were: no yoga. I heard the disappointment in her voice and wished I could go over and provide even a half hour of relief. But no, the baby was awake and it wouldn’t go well.
Life is thrown off by small things and suddenly what was going to happen cannot. And because the “what” is usually not such a big thing, it gets forgotten or waylaid.
When a lot of your friends are moms – and your clients and your neighbors and on and on – this happens a lot. Life is thrown off by small things and suddenly what was going to happen cannot. And because the “what” is usually not such a big thing, it gets forgotten or waylaid. I know people in other of life’s sectors are slowed down and get off track, too, but I imagine it happening at more of a clip and with greater fanfare. Someone’s flight from Beijing is delayed; the meeting is postponed. The funding falls through and the company has to scramble to reconfigure. The movie star gets sick (or goes to rehab); scramble, scramble, scramble. It’s a different sense of time and of importance altogether.
My son turned eight yesterday. A few days ago, he was seven. A year from now he’ll be nine. In between now and then he’ll lose at least two more teeth, I predict. His feet and armpits will get stinkier, though I don’t foresee him taking longer showers or brushing his teeth with any more diligence. He’ll probably record hours of digital time with his new video camera, and he’ll read who knows how many comic books. He’ll ask me for a myriad of snacks and have me drive him near and far. Honey will drip-drop in fat gulps as he teeters in slow motion between my little boy and the man I can’t yet imagine.