On Filling Time
I am writing this from my kitchen table where for over an hour I swing between being a mom and learning how to be better at “doing” business. I fail at finishing the email, the copy, and the blog I set out to do. My son called. He needs me which makes getting any work done an impossibility. When I am not helping my son, I am fending off my tendency to be hard on myself for not getting my work done.
Which makes getting any work done an impossibility.
My kids are no longer at the ages where they need me to wipe their noses or strap them in and out of car seats. To my delight, my youngest still loves playgrounds and likes me to go with him but I can see that in the next few years climbing on monkey bars and swinging on swings and calling out to me while I sit close by on a bench, “Mom! Watch this!” will be a thing of his past—I find myself tracking the pace of his maturity as if a close watch on it has the ability to slow it down. I observe him trying things he never would have a few years ago. I notice the tiniest inflection of his emerging pre-teen voice when he sighs at the fact that I don’t know something about his world. “Mom, du-uhhh!” I can barely recall when my two older children were his age and it seems incredible that the photograph on my night stand where I am holding my very pregnant belly is over a decade old. The photo next to it, nearly twice that old.
My most recent yoga classes reflect a calling for people to slow down. I wave my arms in the air or place my hands on my heart and proclaim that we can barely afford the time to look away from any moment — because we can’t get moments back. I practically beg students to stop moving so fast. To hold that part of them that wants to rush from one thing to another; that just wants to get it over with. I hear Marie Howe’s words in a poem she wrote to her daughter. Where do I want her to hurry to? To her grave? To mine?
And I notice that I am mostly talking to myself. Slow down, Tracy. Feel this.
It’s the same advice I offer my son. Please slow down, and I say a little prayer. So that you can make the wise choice.
And lately for me that choice has been to no longer fill my time with the mental hardship that comes with beating myself up for what I haven’t done, what I have yet to do —but to ask of time itself to teach me the sweetest way to honor it’s passing.