“The days are slow, the years are fast” is one of my favorite book lines ever, from Gretchin Rubin’s The Happiness Project. It is so true. The kids’ birthdays and holidays make me particularly aware of how quickly they’re growing up. Facebook flashbacks, too. With Max, comments from people who haven’t seen him in a while make me aware of his development; the consensus is that his speech is getting easier to understand.
And then, there are my contact lenses, the most regular marker of just how fast life goes by. They come 30 to a box. And every single time the box runs empty, I can’t believe another month has passed. Wasn’t I just grabbing another box yesterday from the closet and putting it beneath the sink?
Women with adult children like to tell me, “Someday, you’re going to miss these days!” I get that. I love raising children. (Um, most days?) I love the family life we have. But then, it’s hard to imagine I’ll ever miss the whirlwind of to-dos, chores, tasks, appointments and staying on top of everyone and everything (see: I am the person who notices we are running out of toilet paper, and I rock). Someone should invent an app that automatically keeps track of all the stuff moms do in a given day so we could hold it up to our darlings and say “SEE?!”
Ironically, keeping up with family duties at times also means I get too busy or distracted to fully savor them. And suddenly, there I am again, breaking open another box of contact lenses. Sabrina is looking more and more like a young adult. Ben is asserting himself in all sorts of new ways. (“No bedtime! I sleep already!”) Max has moved on from YouTube fire truck videos to ones of people loading moving trucks (he plans to move to Orlando just as soon as possible).
I haven’t found any magic solution to slowing life down. There’s definitely no app for that. What does help is conscientiously making myself be present. No thinking about what I have to get done that morning/afternoon/night. No checking email or Insta. Just being in the moment, what shrinks refer to as “mindfulness.” It’s the core of meditation (something I’ve always sucked at) but I’ve found that if I don’t put pressure on myself to do it, it happens. Because the last thing I need is another to-do.
Last night, Sabrina, Max and Ben were on the couch, shoving each other and trying to claim their territory. It was hardly a special moment and yet, it became one. Because as I sat there watching them I started thinking how great it was that they more or less got along and how cute they all looked and how happy they were and how lucky I was to have them. And just for a few minutes, time stood still.
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