When you are young, time seems long. Your parent tells you that something will happen "next year" and it feels like it will never come. As you get older you realize just how relatively short a time a year actually is. You realize that a year is actually not that long, and when you're busy living life, it goes pretty fast. Suddenly that vacation you were planning, or that wedding you were anticipating, or the holiday plans you couldn't wait for - arrive. In the blink of an eye it comes and goes. What they say is true...time moves faster as you get older. I still feel like the same 22 year old that graduated from college and began her first year of fresh-faced teaching, clad in a navy blue blazer for my interview (a trait my former principal always affectionately reminds me of!)
But then I realize something...I'm obviously no longer that 22-year old. I'm nearly 15 years older and, even scarier, halfway to retirement eligibility within our state's public school system. I look at the current 23-year old that I work with and it's so often like looking in a mirror. The youthfulness, the pep, the energy, the idealism. All of which are positive attributes. And I still think of myself as a positive person. But my life at 36 years old is so vastly different. I could not, at 22, have imagined that one day down the road my life would be measured in minutes.
See, with a new baby under our roof, we measure so many things in minutes...
He slept for 35 minutes.
He's been awake for 90 minutes.
I just changed that diaper 15 minutes ago.
He's been crying for 5 minutes.
He's been cooing for 17 minutes.
I've been listening to him snore for 12 minutes.
He played in his crib this morning for 20 minutes.
He nursed for 10 minutes.
I left for work a few minutes later than normal - because I was snuggling my sleeping son on my chest for just a few more minutes.
I've been told by so many veteran parents, "The days are long, but the years are short." We have wholeheartedly taken the advice to enjoy every minute that we have now. Thanks in part to that wonderful advice, and I believe also largely because of our life experience, we cherish every. single. minute.
We listen to James laugh and coo and giggle and "talk" and smile and laugh ourselves at his seemingly innate ability to mostly entertain himself. Inevitably with the sheer joy he brings, I feel a twinge of sadness. At the minutes we didn't get with Faith. And the minutes we did...because she was such a powerful reminder that our lives are truly measured in minutes.
When you're 10, you can't imagine that minutes will every go by so fast or matter so much. Those minutes you wait on Christmas morning seem to drag on forever. Twenty or so years later, you just wish that those minutes would take a little longer...and wish there was some way to permanently imprint them on your memory.
So, I leave a little later for work some mornings. I snuggle a little longer with my sleeping baby than the "experts" recommend if you ever want your child to sleep independently. I breathe in his baby smell while I can and choose to enjoy the early morning hours, smiles, and cups of coffee that come with his 6 a.m. wake-up call. I ignore that I'd like to sleep a little more and instead focus on the fact that before I can even blink, he'll be sleeping later than me and I'll have to chase him out of bed at noon.
Minutes are precious.
My grandfather was able to come to the hospital to meet James the day he was born. Just a week later, my grandfather passed away at the age of 89. For awhile (and still a bit, if I'm honest), I felt a tremendous amount of guilt and sadness that he never held James and that we didn't get pictures of them together. I know my grandfather didn't think anything of it, more than likely, but it is one of my biggest regrets. And now he's gone, and I have to live with that. But those minutes in the hospital? The 30 or so minutes that he was in the same room and got to meet him? Those minutes mattered. And a week later when I learned that he was in the hospital and there was nothing left to do, I left my one-week old baby in the hands of my loving and wonderful husband so that I could squeeze out a few more minutes with my grandfather. I had to time it carefully...nurse, drive to the hospital, spend time holding Grandpa's hand, drive home to nurse again. I got an hour or so. 60 precious, quiet, pensive, emotional minutes to be with my grandfather. Minutes I will never regret.
Minutes matter...we live our life in minutes. When the hustle and the rush of life gets overwhelming, stop and count the minutes. Because they go by so very, very quickly.