I know you’ve seen what I’ve seen. Facebook post after Facebook post linking to articles entitled “It will be over before you know it: enjoy every second with your kids” or “Time flies: the journey will be over soon so enjoy it!” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/julianna-w-miner/the-sweet-spot_b_3617506.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009)
My well-intentioned friends usually preface the article with something like “I wish I had realized this then. I would give anything to have my little ones be babies again.” I understand that the authors of these articles are trying desperately to impart a wisdom only gained with age and perspective upon those who are still “in the thick of it” but they must also realize the pressure they are putting on us. The fear and the constant marination on this unrefuted fact: Time moves. Babies grow up. We will die.
I guess I can say one thing. When I am up to my neck in sweet potato spit-up and drool and diaper remnants, it does help to remind myself that these times are fleeting and that before I know it, my beautiful drool boxes will be toddlers with the ability to use napkins and toilets and that I won’t be as needed as I am this very instant. It does help. I take a deep breath and somehow I view this stressful, frankly gross situation, with a different lens-one that lets me see it as fascinating, life-affirming and honestly, really really funny.
That said, most self-reflective people will tell you that they already think about death and finality on their own-without the constant reminder from Facebook moms. I am profoundly aware of the fact that time is racing by and that the days and the weeks feel like minutes or even seconds. The twins will turn one in two months and that statement-that fact-pulsates and aches through my body daily. This isn’t my first reflection on this-I’ve written about this at length before. It breaks my heart to accept that almost a year has gone by since I was pregnant with them. I stare obsessively at pictures from their birth and videos from those first few days home. Point is, I will venture to say that we don’t need the constant reminder that it will “all be over soon”. We are painfully aware of that fact every minute of every day of each fleeting week that flies by. And it hurts us just as much now-as it is actually happening-as it will when our babies go to college, or get married, or have kids of their own.
What If we collectively chose to change our mindset? Instead of lamenting and stressing over the passage of time, we all tried to simply be in the moment? In yoga practice you conclude the practice with “Shavasana” (Corpse Pose). Yoginis say it is the single hardest pose in a practice because it requires you to lie very still and to let go of all control and all thought. You are encouraged to simple Be. Of course that’s hard as hell and just as you begin to relax you remember you have to go to the grocery store and you forgot to pay the cell phone bill and that you need to set the DVR to record the “Real Housewives of Wherever” and then you’re gone-on a whirlwind of thoughts and worries and you’re annoyed and mad at yourself that you are wasting this special meditative time and then BOOM! Class is over. The yoginis tell you to see those thoughts (grocery, housewives etc.) and imagine that they are a wave rolling into the shore. They instruct you to watch the wave and to just let it go. Don’t watch it and contemplate it as it goes away and worry about whether you really are watching it roll away or not, but to simply allow it to hit the beach and leave your consciousness. I wonder if that technique translates to what I’m talking about above.
When I start to hurt over the passage of time-I wonder what would happen if I let that fact be a wave headed towards the shore and I allowed it to leave me and my consciousness and crash gently into the sand. And I’m not saying it will be easy or that it will work every time but I’m sure willing to try it. I imagine it is a welcome break to the other. It suggests a potential peace with something mothers and fathers and sons and daughters and people have struggled with for all of time.
If this worked, and we all could stop trying unsuccessfully to control and press pause on time, perhaps the Facebook articles would say something different moving forward. Perhaps they would say something like “Life is hard and challenging and there are a million ups and downs but in the end it is utterly incredible and full and long and I am so fucking thankful to be in it“. I would read that.