An open letter to time
I watched my family run down the beach today. My husband wanted to race to the rock jetty on the far end. My children ran after him in sequential order almost dancing with joy down the sand, their footfalls dissolving into one another until they merged with the deep strong footprints of their father. And isn't that your way? From the moment they are born you take them, slowly at first and then faster and faster until their once-tiny, wobbly, chubby feet are leaving deeper footprints reflecting the weight they now bear. The tiny hands that left prints on my wall just yesterday now have strong grips and painted nails.
What I am saying is, can you take some time off? Can you take a vacation so that this fleshy, delicious toddler in my arms—who whispers secrets and bestows sticky kisses, who burrows deep under the blankets with me and sleeps in my arms, who giggles and dances in her nightie—will stay for just a moment longer?
That this sweet boy who still wants to marry his mommy and asks if, when he gets to heaven, he will be allowed to bring in his adored stuffed animals. Who puffs out his chest with pride because he just swam across the pool and thinks finding a crab in the sand is the world's greatest treasure—can he stay for just a moment longer?
And this oldest sister who is always trying to speed you up, who wants to be first at everything, who fiercely protects and mothers her younger siblings and smiles at me with brand new teeth barely popping through her gums, who is sounding out words and zipping past me on a two-wheeler, the one who declared she was over princesses and instead builds forts out of my living room cushions, my firstborn child I catch crying in the kitchen and reminds me is still a small girl with tender feelings—can she stay for just a moment longer?
Can you take some time off so I can watch this man, this love of mine, scoop his young daughter up in his arms and give her eskimo kisses—who walks in the door with superhero status ready to indulge the endless demands for wrestles and snuggles, who can throw all three children for hours in the pool without rest because he's intoxicated by a divine cocktail of splashes and laughter, this father that gently teaches and corrects and loves with wisdom that continues to baffle me, who loves Saturday morning pancakes and reading chapter books to his children by the fire, who answers inexhaustible questions as small eyes behold him with wonder, this man whose arms are like a fortress of safety for hurt feelings and bad dreams— can you take some time off so he can stay "Dada" for just a moment more?
And this woman that looks back at me in the mirror with tired eyes and unkept hair, this woman who can't seem to find her way out of pajamas till mid-day, this caregiver who is not granted an end to the work or the mess, who is often short on patience but somehow is always loved endlessly, this woman whose lap is rarely empty, who bestows a thousand kisses and then a thousand more, this woman who loves you at three in the afternoon when another set of hands feels like the cavalry riding in, but hates you with every passing year. Can you just take some time off so I can be this woman for a little longer?
Please consider this request and take a long vacation while we enjoy this chapter just a little longer....