Sunday, February 27, 2011

is there ever a time when everything just stands still?

I know I am not alone when I say that time is moving too fast. And it's more than just the fact that son recently turned four years old, although that is a big part of it, I suspect. Maybe it's because I missed the first 15 months of his young life, or maybe every mother feels this way when her little ones start to grow up and test their independence. I don't know. I walked into the gym at church last week to pick up my son and he was playing catch with a small football. He was actually throwing the ball to a friend, who was throwing it back. Another afternoon I arrived at daycare just as he was heading to the bathroom. "You wait outside, Mommy", he said. "I can do this by myself." What? I don't know why I was so shocked. After all, he uses the bathroom by himself at home all the time. But sometimes he still needs help. Sometimes he still needs me. And usually, when he does, I am slightly annoyed as I head to the bathroom to meet his current demand. Because I know he can do this on his own. But watching him take charge of this at school, with his teacher waiting outside the bathroom- not even outside the stall, but outside the bathroom, I was suddenly smacked in the face by his growing independence. Sometimes I look at him and wonder, "who is this kid?"

Yes, time is moving too quickly for me. At a time in my life when my career should be somewhat stable- I'm 40 years old, have a pre-schooler and another toddler on the way - my work life is absolutely crazy. For two years I have held this position and assumed that once I was truly entrenched in my work it would calm down. I now know that it will never calm down. In fact, I can't even assume that this is the busiest I will ever be. Which is terrifying. There are weeks that I find myself lying in bed on Friday night wondering what happened that week. How did a week with such a promising start spiral down so quickly? Did I really spend half of my work week on the telephone? (Think about that. That is 20 hours, at least...) Did I really work every evening after my little guy was tucked into bed, thinking it would propel me forward, helping me to keep my head above water? Then why do I feel like I am drowning all the time?

Time that used to stand still has also picked up speed lately. As a younger person I assumed my parents would be around forever. When I lost my father in my late twenties, I revised that assumption, but only slightly. After all, my mother was still very young. Even when she was living with Alzheimer's Disease and I was fielding her many daily calls and traipsing around Grove City doing her shopping- a slave to her endless shopping lists- I still felt as though time was standing still. Then she suddenly died. And before I could even blink time had rocketed forwarded and I was standing in that same funeral home, in that same room, saying goodbye to another parent.

Now there are phone calls to make for her estate, a home to clean out and sell, a missing bed to find at her assisted living. There are bills to pay and organizations to notify. There are doctor appointments and documents to dig up for our second adoption. There is shopping to do and room to get ready. Good Lord, there are suitcases from our recent trip overseas to begin the adoption process that still need unpacked. I think we might even still have a suitcase from China to unpack. We came home and hit the ground running as a newly formed family. In between bottles and surgeries and doctor appointments and day care and bonding there simply wasn't time to unpack. That suitcase belongs to us "pre matthew", and I barely remember who I was "pre matthew".

And there is life. Careers and family obligations and baths and bedtime and whole foods cooking and weekly planning and getting to the gym and writing thank you notes and keeping up with older aunts and facebook....

Is there ever a time when everything just stands still? Is there ever a time when a person can just breath and get her bearings about her?

I don't know about you, but I am thinking that my time to breath may just be when we bring our second son home. Having stepped away from work at that point for a few months, I might just be able to relax, breath, and ignore the entire world. The death certificate demands, the endless work phone calls, the suitcases that will need unpacked... I will be able to push aside all the noise, and focus on what is really important. My new little guy, my older son, and my husband. And I can't wait.

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