If you have an under-apprecation of time, I highly suggest having kids nice and close together. Forget years apart, I’m talking something that you can count in months, like 20 or 15 or 12. Because if you do, the only life events that will seemingly take an eternity will be things like sitting in traffic with one or more screaming kids, the few hours left until your spouse comes home when the kids are particularly whiny, or coffee finishing brewing after a fairly sleepless night. Otherwise, most memories will be a sleep-deprived blur. Even though you may feel that you’re running an ultramarathon every single day, the highlights will blitz past you. Baby pictures will be a beautiful, bittersweet reminder of what you can barely recall.Their milestones and clothing size will skyrocket past you before you know it. There will be moments you’ll do your utmost to freeze time. Pictures and even video won’t be enough. Mental stills where you drink in each sense’s experience may be your best bet. Like when they stop trying to exercise Darwinian Law by clawing at each other to collaboratively play, or when they make their first friend at the park, you’ll wish the moment could sink in a bitter deeper than other moments or that you could slow time.
During this period of your parenting life, time will occasionally be afforded to you as a gift. There are only two ways I’ve had it bestowed on me. The first is unexpected time to yourself; time where the kids are gone and the house is yours. It is a gift where you realize your thoughts are still linear and you can complete basic tasks in under and hour. It is time where silence has never sounded so sweet. Where you’ll operate in a time paradox where you will want to both do everything you’ve ever thought to put on your to-do list and, at the same time, be as slothful as possible. You’ll be stuck somewhere between missing the kids and (almost) guiltlessly wishing the time would drag on for much longer than you actually have. Then, as quickly as it takes for the front door to open, poof! it will be gone. And, you’ll be back in the parenting trenches with a neverending to-do list.
The second way time is gifted to a mama of young ones is in the form of time spent with one child alone. When they are born so close together, time with alone with your oldest is gone all too soon. Time with your next is always spent divided between more than one kid. While time with either child alone is a gift, time with your baby is an especial one. It is a rare experience to see him as an individual and not a member of a very rambunctious dyad (or triad or tetrad, in the case of some). It is an incredible blessing to witness your child just as him, to hear all of his words unfold uninterruptedly, and to experience how he plays on his own. The playground with just you and your baby will become a canvas for magic catered solely to him. You will feel a natural pull from the periphery of the playground. The lack of peers and the chance to just be with him will trump the desire to just sit and watch. Then, you and he will metamorphose into gigantic frogs leaping from ‘lily pad’ rocks. In no time, the two of you will transform into the world’s biggest spiders scaling an extraordinarily high web. In having your attention fixed on him, you will be able to keep pace with the script of his play and see he no longer is a spider, but now is looking for them. So you too will go on the hunt and soon will find yourself trying to examine the arachnids with the same scrutiny he is exercising. The light in his eyes will dance as he realizes the possibilities that exist for only you and him. Actually having the time to build on his imagination without simultaneously playing referee is really quite sublime. You may find yourself entertaining a pathetic plan to divide and conquer your little ones, mom and child hold the -ren from this point forth. But as is the case with all good things, the time is finite. As the siblings will reunite, it turns out, the excitement of seeing each other will be nearly as great as his glee during “Special Mama Time,” creating another scene you will want to go on forever.