Monday, March 7, 2011

children and time

it is an endless string of requests. can we stop and play tag? could we pull over and look at the fish in the neighbor's pond? will you tell me a story on the way? where is my cape? come outside and splash in the hose too, okay? i feel put-upon, exhausted, stressed. i see a long tunnel of errands: bus trip, groceries, unpack and put away, laundry, homework, cook dinner, wash up, return phone calls, plan trip for grad school interview this weekend, renew library book. the light at the end of it is me, alone, with a cup of tea, SITTING DOWN. i just want to get to that moment. i ignore and snap and hedge. no, there's no time. we'll see the fish later. i want to concentrate on getting there. i don't have time to look for your cape, keep track of your own things. i've got a lot to do in here, can't you just play by yourselves for a while?

but today xir turned to me and said you are always in a hurry. what are you rushing for? why can't we just have fun?

suddenly i could see myself through his eyes. THAT mom. Somehow i have become THAT mom.

yesterday we biked to the movies, the ones by the lovely lion fountain in downtown culver city, and the boys wanted to run through the streams of water while we waited. i fussed and went on about sitting in wet clothes in a cold movie theater and meanwhile the fellow i've been all gushy about in the posts below laughed and told them yes, be careful, you might have too much fun! oh no, don't have too much fun, get out of there! and ran through with them.

that used to be me. what on earth happened? what am i so afraid of? since when did i care about damp clothes in movie theaters? since when did i pass up a chance to play tag, or look at fish swimming?

i suppose there are no easy answers. dinner, after all, does need to be cooked, and the clothes do need to be washed. but a life that leaves no room for impromptu games of tag or running through the hose is not a life i'm interested in living.

where is the time we thought we would have? the time to sit and look at the moon and work out a song on the guitar, the time to lay in the grass and doze, or browse through several books of poetry, or play long involved games with your children until the shadows grow long and you've lost any sense of the hour? have we really spent it on dishwashing and grocery shopping? but how else could it ever be? i am at a loss.

how i love you, xir, and your ability to cut through your frustration and speak to me clearly. how i love you, anainn, and your laughter and flexibility. i want to take care of you, but not at the price of never really knowing you. what is to be done?


  1. beautiful conundrum. thanks for sharing it.

  2. I want to take care of you, but not at the price of never really knowing you.

  3. i like that your title starts with the word children.

    "time and children" wouldn't have the right meaning because you are someone who absolutely puts her children first.