Time is definitive. It is measurable. One second can be no longer than the next or vice versa. There are a known number of seconds in a minute, minutes in an hour, hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a year... and months, don't even get me started on months.
Months represent birthdays and holidays and weather shifts and anniversaries and tax returns and paydays (not the candy bar) and vacations and a spike in gas prices. They have become the mile markers of my year. Reminders of what comes next.
4th of July heralds the end of Summer. Back to School escorts in birthdays (4 in 8 weeks to be exact) and Halloween. After which we do not pass Thanksgiving, do not break out our fall decor, go straight to Christmas. New Years arrives with fireworks and champagne just in time for, you guessed it! Valentine's Day! There's a green blurb in there with dozens of little men and their gold, but Easter and Spring Break are there to guide us right into Summer.
As a parent, all of these markers are pushing us toward grade school promotions or new schools. It means double digits or driver's licenses; puberty and dating. I think my perception of time changed with the great 40 week countdown, though there was a 6-8 week reprieve from the stress of keeping track, just as the last grain of gestational sand fell another clock started.
When will he smile? When will she roll over? When will she say mama? When will he crawl? Walk? Talk? Eat on his own? Give up the bottle? Pacifier? When will she be fully potty trained?
Oh, wait, Kindergarden all ready? No, I'm not ready for that, but by then I'd already set the pace. Our lives constantly consuming weekends and months and milestones, until we'd created an insatiable monster, never satisfied with today, this moment. Always focused on what lay ahead.
So, here I am.
My 5th grader starting middle school and water polo. Us, the parents, contemplating additional responsibilities and watching as the pack (yes, 3 boys with 2 year gaps are a pack) splits up, spreads out. Different schedules, different programs, different schools, the start of different lives.
I've done 1st grade, in fact, not counting my own trek through the educational system, this is my 3rd time through. I've done 3rd grade once, maybe I'll keep it together this second time through. But 5th grade? Middle school?
Where has the time gone? Does it push us or pull us or evaporate when it touches us? More importantly, does it have an emergency break?
No? It just slips by. Intangible yet carrying the weight of all purpose and meaning in its wake.
You can't get it back. You can't borrow it from another. You can sell it though and give it away freely, or simply waste it. I've done all three.
Fortunately, we can only live one day at a time, one moment at a time. God, in His infinite grace and wisdom, must have known we would try to multi-task days and limited our access.
All I can do is try my best to fight for today and make it count.
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matt 6:34
Perhaps God has something there.