There never seems to be enough of it. As we pass through the many life stages and look back from where we are now, there sure seems to be a surplus of time we once had and squandered. All the hours and days of leisure we didn’t know would come to an end.
In part, it’s the natural march that happens as every day on earth we are further from birth, more developed in our sense of who we are and aware of our inherent mortality. Middle age hits and it’s very apparent all the things we could have done had we only realized the fleetingness of youth.
And if you follow the “traditional” track- get married, get a Job, and especially- have kids, your time becomes so precious with so many demands placed on it that it seems there’s hardly a chance to sit down and exhale let alone finish the never-ending to-do list. And in the midst of all of this is the challenge of keeping up healthy relationships, interactions abbreviated and interrupted at such a consistent pace that when you finally are left alone its hard to know what to do with yourself. And then there is yourself. That person lost in the cacophony of life events that slips through the cracks of parenthood.
A wise friend once told me that becoming a parent started the long journey back to discovering yourself. You discover yourself as a parent and also lose so much of what you thought you knew of yourself. Or maybe for some people it just strengthens what they already know to be true about themselves. There is this very visceral reality always punctuating your experience when you have beings you brought forth and that for a time rely solely upon you.
For parents, and perhaps mostly for mothers, we dive in completely. We become “mom”, that place if we are successful at it, that our kids will always know is their safe haven. To be the moon and stars in someone else’s galaxy is quite a blessing and quite a lot to carry around at times.
And inevitably it will stop. Not totally and not forever, once you are mom you are always mom. But we all know that time is coming where the seemingly never ending merry go round of early childhood will shut down overnight and we become outsiders as they forge their own path and find their independence.
How do we balance it all, here and now? How do we embrace the time of intense togetherness and still forge out something of our own? Something to dive into more fully when that ride stops. Something that will be our guidepost when the world gets turned upside down once again.
As far as I can tell, the answer is you just do. Every day you get up and make choices about what to devote your time and energy to. A little bit for this, a lot more for them, a little left for that. And so a life is made. And so the days march on. And so we blink and it’s gone.