Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Life's Like An Hourglass Glued To The Table*

While sorting through some piles of junk today, I came across a pair of mini bows - the kind hospitals glue to a newborn baby girl's head. These bows were the palest pink, and still had a bit of residue left from being stuck to one of my daughters.

Mia. She had the pink bows. Lauren got green. For Jade. Her middle name. I stop my organizing and stare off in the distance. Remembering. And suddenly-

Time is running away from me.

I can hear it. I can almost feel the air being displaced as time speeds past me.

I turn my head to catch a glimpse of now, but it's too late - now has vanished. And in its wake, I can no longer smell or see or touch the things that make me feel whole. My baby's scalp is now covered with hair; her scent changes. My bigger girl's voice grows more confident; her sound changes.

Never before have I so desperately wished for a mythical jar to capture a tiny bit of time within its confines. But even more terrifying is that the time behind us will only be compounded - the pile of moments-past deepens while I'm not paying attention. I don't want to lose the moments that are hidden at the bottom of the pile.

How do people do this gracefully?

My children are only 1 and 3 years old. How do I face the years ahead without being swallowed up with sadness over losing the years that have already happened?

Then - I am snatched away from my thoughts.

The girls are giggling at the kitchen table, making memories while I was busy lamenting the loss of a future that hasn't even happened yet. I turn to them and smile at their beauty and innocence. I bask in their light.

And I think this is how.

Just go be within their moments. Sniff their heads and listen to their lilting voices, even as those anchors of certainty are changing.

I put the pink bows back where I found them, knowing that I will run across them again soon; my daughters are here, now.

So must I be.

*The chorus of this song (Breathe [2 AM], by Anna Nalick) pops into my head several times a week, even when I'm not feeling the weight of time on my shoulders. It's like my subconscious wants to remind me to open my eyes - a reminder I am grateful for. Breathe...Just Breathe.


  1. Okay...this one actually is deep and profound. Much more so than your cute little haiku. You have such a way with words.

  2. So much truthiness! :) And you are the very first person ever that I have heard quote an Anna Nalick song- love her! Your coolness factor, while already very high, has gone up.

  3. Oh cherish these hours! My baby leaves for college in 5 days and all of a sudden I am feeling it. Her boxes are almost packed, she is excited beyond belief and I am wanting to put her in a box and keep her here which is so not the reaction that I thought I would have. We have been anticipating "empty nest" around here, at least in the abstract. But when faced with the reality....not so much I guess.

  4. Ah, yes "Time in a Bottle" sounds like a song to me! I do remember well those feelings, and guess what? They never stop! Just look at you now! Strange, my eyes are getting blurry for some reason!!!

  5. Whenever I get sad about the time I've already "lost," I remind myself how much I have enjoyed each new stage. My first baby is 7 now, and I love this age too!

    The other thing to do... make sure you don't regret how you spend the fleeting time. For me, that means being home with my children, being playful and patient, and stepping AWAY from the blog. ;)

  6. Oh I know, they do grow up so fast. I can remember when my STEPdaughters were 3 and 4, and now they are hurtling toward teenagerhood (hmm I think that is not a word). ACK.

    And the boys; already I miss the newborn days. It is at the age of my youngest (8 months) that I start wanting another baby. It's crazy.

    You're right, though. There is something wonderful and very, very cute about each stage.

    p.s. I love that song, but I couldn't figure out the reference till I got to the bottom of your post!

  7. Just saw your new profile picture- gorgeous!!!

  8. I'm scared to have kids because they'll grow up too fast. Is that an irrational fear?

  9. You nailed it. Stay in the now, now offers everything. Now is where God is and where we are, and we can't be in "then".

    Yes, it rushes by faster than we can ever imagine, but there is always more. My oldest two are both soldiers, brave young men, and I love who they are and I love their now, just as I love the now of the other 4 still at home.

    Beautiful observation, this post.

    Chelsea... don't be scared! Your kids are the best people, along with your husband, to be with as you watch time go by much too quickly!

  10. Beautiful. You express this old, familiar feeling so very well. What a wonderful post.

    But, did the hospital really stick a bow onto your baby's head? I'm just trying to imagine that and it seems so...weird.

  11. Wow! Thank you for all the compliments and advice :)

    Anonymous 1 - Love you, mom. Now, howsabout a signature!

    Chelsea - Completely rational :) Just don't let that stop you from having kids if you want to!

    Emily - Yes! I was wondering if that was a local phenomenon or if it was common to put bows on baby girl heads. The minute the baby came back from the nursery (mine were barely even in there, but when they DID go for weight checks and such...) she had a teeny bow stuck on with KY jelly or something. We took them off after the first few minutes because (you're correct) it *was* pretty weird. :)

  12. So beautiful. I've been feeling the same way this week, as I feel this baby inside me growing even faster than the pace of my two outside the womb. Thank you for putting words to it and ending it with lightness so I didn't end up sobbing. :)

  13. Beautifully said. Just the fact that you are thinking about how to best experience these fleeting moments with your children is proof that you are living in the now. My youngest is now 8. I ache to have another. Today I was blessed to have the opportunity to hold a week old baby while his mother was unpacking from their recent move. It brought back so much longing, but I know I lived in the moment when my own were little. I took lots of photos. I have a journal for each of them that I recorded bits of their day, things they said, small moments that I didn't want to get lost forever. We made movies. We did the best we could, knowing that someday, these keepsakes would have to supplement our memories when their babyhoods were past.

  14. Beautiful. I'm feeling the same way about Miss Mo. She's only 15 months old, but I catch myself wondering "where did my baby go?"

  15. i have those moments too. beautifully written btw

  16. Beautifully written and so, so real. I just told my husband yesterday that our kids are getting "old". (They're 5, 3, and 1!) With my oldest going to kindergarten in two weeks, the middle going to preschool, and the youngest just turning 1, I'm aching lately. Everybody's right, though. All we can do is enjoy and live in the "now", as I too sometimes feel consumed with sadness if I let myself wallow in the years passing too quickly.

  17. Absolutely beautiful, Sarah - you have a gift with words to express what perhaps every mommy has experienced and continues to wrestle with in her heart.

    My babies are only 25 months and 8 months, and I catch myself with this same feeling when I am so swept in the joy of the moment or of a memory of a past moment.

    Go kiss those babies and smell the kid shampoo - that too, will pass so enjoy. I try :)


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?