“This too shall pass,” my Dad would say when I would complained about how tiresome and endless the work with young children felt to me. Asking him, over the phone, how he and mom did it without losing their minds. With his wisdom he would encourage me that it wouldn’t always be this way. He, of course, was right. I am aware of this liminal space, this threshold, doorway time, when I'm more acutely aware of the passage of time. The space where the summer is ending and the school year is beginning and I'm realizing that my children are growing, life is getting shorter, and there is beauty and grief in all of it. I am aware, more than at other times, right now, that my children will be leaving soon. That I do not get them forever. But that they were only children for a short time. And the time that I wished would come has now arrived. The time I wished would be here, sooner, quicker, when they could tie their own shoes, get dressed on their own, flush their own toilets, and pack their own lunches. It is here. The yellow school bus takes them away every day. The school bus that I used to wish for so I could get a break now takes away from the coveted moments with my children that I realize is going too fast. Slow it down. Slow it down. Slow it down. If only time would slow down. I used to pray for it to speed up. But that was before we were here. In the now. In the sweet spot.
Gone are the days when they would pad their little feet across the hallway, pajamas and bed hair, to announce the day that began so early. I would squeeze my eyes shut hoping they wouldn’t notice I was awake yet. Nowadays, I walk a little louder past the teenager’s room, hoping to wake him up before noon. Delighted when he joins me for my cup of coffee on the deck, when he pours himself one, eager to hear whatever ideas may come out of his beautiful head. The time is here when I would rather take them on a trip with my husband and me because it is just as much fun than when we have our alone “Couples” trips. When they eat dinner with us it is more fun than when we used to get babysitters to get away for a break. I don’t need so many breaks. I don’t need as much “me” time. I long for “we” time.
My eyes used to glass over when I listened to all of their words….so many words, and to be honest, they sometimes still do. Yet now, more often, I watch my 12 year old’s eyes glaze over because of all of my words. He walks to his room and says he needs a break from talking which he so astutely learned from me.
And of course there are the times when I remember teaching them all the wisdom, and now they teach me; correct my grammar, occasionally chastise me for swearing, criticize my driving, and educate me about pop culture that all of the sudden feels irrelevant to me. I am grateful that we have arrived here. I won’t “rage against the dying of the light” because that is what brought me to this new space. I will stay awake. Remain present. I will be here now. Now is where time touches eternity. This breath. This day. I am learning the importance of practicing gratitude and naming all of the gifts. And when the days are hard, really teenager hard, I remember, this too shall pass.