Faster, Faster

Faster, Faster

I’m standing rooted to a spot on my living room carpet.  My three year old daughter has demanded authoritatively that I not move.  Knowing too well the feisty aspects of her personality, I don’t dare disobey her.  Instead, I watch amused as she backs up slowly, keeping a cautious eye on my feet.  She makes her way a little farther and a little farther away from me.

I know the distance is only temporary.  I know the routine.  In a moment she’ll sprint forward, a huge grin on her face, arms outstretched, ready to catapult into my waiting arms.  I’ll start to spin.  In between her squeals of delight, she’ll beg me to spin faster and faster.  And though my feet will comply, my heart will protest.  Each beat an echo of this mother’s wish: slower, slower.  Can’t we please go a little slower?

As a child, I failed to understand one of my dad’s favorite phrases: time flies.  In an effort to turn the abstract into something concrete and understandable, my little mind often pictured a clock with wings, moving rapidly across the sky.  A literal interpretation of all things figurative, this is the truest expression of a child’s innocence.  But life happens, we grow up, and the literal lens through which we view our language and our world evolves.  It becomes dimensional. Metaphorical. Symbolic.

There’s a quote by Elizabeth Stone which captures the experience of being a parent perfectly.  I loved it so much, I placed it in my son’s baby book.  It says, “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” The symbolism is clear.  Children steal our hearts from the moment they’re conceived.  Our love for our babies fills our hearts to the point of bursting.  Suddenly, we can’t imagine a life without them in it.

The cruel irony, though, of having children exists in the realization that one day our babies will grow up.  One day they will become completely independent.  At some future time, they will forge their own paths, make their own way.  They will leave us.

In fact, the very goal of parenting is to prepare our children for their flight from our nests.  We are working in that direction from the moment we bring them home.  We mark the important milestones in their baby books: first smiles, first words, first steps, first teeth, and more.

From the beginning, we parent with the goal of creating self-sufficient individuals. Helping them to sleep in their own rooms.  Teaching them to feed themselves, go potty, and tie their shoes.  One day we’re holding them on our laps to go down the park’s slide, and the next we’re standing at the bottom encouraging them to slide down on their own.

As adults, as parents, we’re completely aware of the literal interpretation of the expression “time flies.” We know time’s characteristics. We know it’s continuous.  We know it’s unstoppable. We know it’s finite. Yet, we often wish time had a pause button, a way to slow things down, even if it’s just for a little bit.

Yes, I see now how time flies.  I see it every day.

As my son takes his first steps into my waiting arms.  Time flies.

As I tuck my daughter into her big-girl bed.  Time flies.

As I wave back to my son from his window-seat on the school bus.  Time flies.

As my daughter enters her preschool class without looking back to me.  Time flies.

As my son and daughter swim on their own.  Time flies.

As more birthday candles are added.  Time flies.

As play time with me is replaced by play time with friends.  Time flies.

My daughter has reached her starting spot. She positions herself, and looks up expectantly to my face. With a Ready, Set, Go, she’s on her way.

I bend forward, open my arms to her, and smile that big, open-mouthed-mama-smile reserved for moments just like this. She leaps into my arms and wraps her legs firmly around my waist.  Once her tiny arms are securely around my neck, I start to spin.  She throws her head back and squeals in delight.

Blonde hair flying, hands squeezing tighter, she’s holding on.

Deep down, I know I’m the one holding on the tightest. 

We’re both laughing as she begs me to go faster and faster.

Knowing this moment is fleeting, I do.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This