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The time is now

December 1st, 2004 · 4 Comments

written Monday November 29

What a luxurious weekend it was! Four days for our family to spend together seemed both strange and restful. I wondered what we had forgotten or what we were doing wrong. I kept checking the blank calendar. After weeks of rushing here and there, at last we could rest.

Life at “Speed Limit 70” to quote a favorite phrase of Michaela’s, is a stunt worthy of even Evel Kneviel. Sure, he could catapult himself over 50 cars. But could he maintain acceleration, not while riding a motorcycle, but instead while managing a family?

Acceleration leaves little details to enjoy. At freeway speed, all you see is a blur. All you can get is a glimpse of the big picture passing by, as if it is a movie, driving by the drive-in. When life slows down, it’s time for the microscope, for introspection and inspection, of the small sweetness of ordinary moments.

Instead of only noticing whether shoes are on the proper feet or Cheerios are off of the chins, I can see my children for who they are. I have time to look in their eyes and laugh. I can hug and kiss them. I can hold them. Each girl is growing. The oldest is already showing signs of becoming a young woman. Or as Michaela said the other day “I’m a very, very, young woman”.

Elisabeth now has new words. Today it was “hello”. After she inherited her own “art box” today (which Ted teased her that it sounded like “aardvark”), she discovered an old Valentine card of a panda bear and ran around saying “Hello!” to the picture. The past few months I’ve been too busy to sit and spend time playing with her. Even her frequent trips to the potty seemed too costly. I’d get her seated but then find a small project to do while she was completing hers. This week though I have time to sit in the bathroom with her and we have a little conversation in the commode. More words are emerging daily and allowing the two of us and all of us to communicate better together. It’s great to enjoy the baby of the family and see her do silly things such as toddle and dance in a diaper. It’s also sweet to see her become like her sisters and less like the baby each day.

Abigail this morning made scrambled eggs for breakfast:her idea. She can hardly sit in my lap easily. She wants me to read to her books about wars, the Civil War, the Revolutionary War. She’s discovered how to reserve books at the library on-line. And Abigail has joined the family pattern of asking her dad for a computer. “I wish I could have my own computer,” she pined today at lunch. Turtle graphics and blogging have enticed her…or perhaps it is the idea that she could put lots of books on hold…

Michaela tonight climbed into my lap and looked at me with her large eyes. The middle girl, she’s not quite the Baby but not as old as the Big Sister either. One moment she’ll begin crying about a balloon’s demise; the next she’ll speak sentences that make me wonder if she is fourteen rather than four.

Tonight she asked me to carry her upstairs. Ted and I have encouraged the girls to be independent. If a kid can walk, then she should take herself upstairs. It’s been years since Michaela needed assistance getting to her room.

I often refuse requests like this one, fearing it would set a poor precedent and become a pattern. But tonight I decided to say yes to Michaela. How many days will I be able to carry my daughter upstairs? Already she is getting big. She’ll be four only this year and then she’ll be five… Some day I’ll be wondering where the days went and why I didn’t enjoy my children more when they were young and at home with us. Maybe tomorrow she won’t want me to carry her.

The time is now. This moment to hold my daughter and carry her up the stairs, even though she’s much bigger than a baby. This chance to read “Go Dogs Go” (or “Doh Dah Doh”) one more time to my toddler who likes it on infinite loop. This instant to hug and kiss my girl who is already acting and looking like a little woman, her hair long and bangless, like mine, the way she wants hers to be. To sit at the dinner table or on the bathroom floor beside her. To listen and look in her eyes as she talks to me. The time to love my children is now.

Tags: family

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lisa Williams // Dec 1, 2004 at 11:19 pm

    This reminded me of my favorite Modern Lovers song, “Morning of our Lives,” –

    And our time is now, we can do anything you really believe in.
    I know it.
    Our time is now, here in the morning of our lives.
    Our time is right now, you can do anything you set your heart on.
    Our time is now, here in the morning of our lives.

    Maybe it’s not such a bad thing that Michaela wants to be carried. Not wanting to ask for help, not daring to ask for affection…isn’t that a big problem for us grownups? Many times daring to ask for those things is more scary than doing things on our own…

    Rowan is a bit like this. I often have to coax him to do things I know he can do. I suspect that he asks for these things because they’re a surefire way to get me to interact with him. Rowan is intensely social, he loves being with other children, and they love him, in part because he organizes their play by asking for things — “Will you make me some tea?” at a tea party, etc.

    I know someday he *will* want to drive the car on his own. But the sociability, and the trust to ask for things and that kind of mutuality is probably something I can’t teach him. I just have to be a steward of this gift and not screw it up :).

  • 2 Julie // Dec 3, 2004 at 12:35 am

    Thanks, Lisa. Your observation that we adults have problems asking for things spoke to me. The question seems to be, what is Michaela wanting when she asks me to carry her up the stairs? Am I encouraging my children to ask for what they need? Or even what they want? Are they getting enough interaction with me? Sometimes the simple expression of a desire, even if it can’t be fulfilled, is powerful. I see in myself struggles with stress due to unspoken desires and needs. Thanks for your insight. Yes, we are stewards of our children. It’s a scary truth. I’m grateful for Grace!

  • 3 Katherine // Dec 3, 2004 at 7:44 am

    What an awesome post. Thank you for the reminder. Just yesterday I was feeling so thankful that my kids are still at home with me, that I get to enjoy their accomplishments close up, that I get to hug them. Of course, that was after they were in bed and all was quiet in the house (not even a mouse around). 😉

  • 4 Julie // Dec 4, 2004 at 9:42 am

    Thanks, Katherine. I need the reminder too! 🙂

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