Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Filling the Gap: Time

“Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” -- Robert Fulghum

There are so many issues I struggle with that I wish my daughter could avoid somehow. Back in June, I started a series of letters to fill the gap. Things I want my two-year-old to know that she won’t pick up by watching me…

Here's letter #2, long overdue thanks to everything I've been trying to cram into my schedule. It's about time, my FEAR of time, and it's being entered into Scribbit's October Write Away contest on the topic of FEAR.

Dear Esmé,

I am not a fearful person, I don't think. I like heights, I'm fascinated with snakes, and I still want to skydive some day. Even goblin masks and pumpkin guts don't scare me. But I fear one significant thing.

I fear the passing of time.

I used to anticipate time. Back when age was measured in halves. Back when I loved spring because summer vacation was coming soon, and I loved autumn because school was starting again. I eagerly anticipated the next thing, the next step, the next adventure.

Somewhere in my twenties, that changed. Now I hold tightly onto each moment, fearing its slip from my grasp. I try to pack as much into the day as possible, creating ridiculous 19-hour-a-day schedules that put me behind before I even begin. It leaves me stressed, hating interruptions and begrudging the gift of my time to others.

Oh, I know the importance of quality time with yourself and your family. So I schedule it in. Play with your child. Kiss your husband. Call a friend. Take a photograph. Write in your gratitude journal. Pamper yourself. It's all on the calendar - in 15-minute increments.

And the clock keeps ticking, faster than ever. I fear my time with you being cut short, and I try to cram in even more. The harder I grasp, the faster it squeezes through my fingers.

I watch you, little girl. You're eagerly growing up, anticipating the next privileges and the next heights. You stand on your tiptoes, straining to see over the fence to the other side.

And a part of me wants to hold you back. Because then time might stand still.

Last week you asked the age-old question for the first time: "Are we almost there yet?" We were just seven minutes into the 30-minute trip to daycare, and you didn't accept any of my answers - for the rest of the trip.

It made me think about how tough time is to understand. A 30-minute car ride can feel interminable. And an entire childhood can pass in the blink of an eye.

Like you, I keep badgering God about the length of the journey when I have NO comprehension of what time really is. It's my prayer that I'll get to spend an eternity with you. So I should stop stressing about the moments we share right now.

Don't fear the future, baby girl. Anticipate it. Because you can't begin to imagine all that God has in store for you. Keep reaching and striving and growing.

But stop and snuggle with me every now and then, too. Let's treasure time for the gift it is, rather than wish it away or fear its passing.

Here's loving you all the time, my growing little one...


Scribbit said...

One of my worst qualities is that I"m constantly looking ahead to what's next rather than enjoying what I've got, that "am I there yet?" and thinking that "oh it'll be great when . . "

It's a good reminder to be patient and enjoy things as they come.

Melanie said...

unlike you, I don't schedule myself silly but, I fear time as well. I'm watching my daughter grow and change and it's so exciting and so scary all at once. It's so fleeting, it can cause anxiety if we let it!

It's always good to remind ourselves of how life can get away from us.

Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

I so relate to this post! You wrote it beautifully. Do you know who Charlie Peacock is? Well, he had a song many years ago that said "Time is a gift of love and grace, without time there'd be no time to change. Time to be tried, humbled, and broken, time to hear the word of love spoken." It's so hard to remember that time is a gift, we constantly want more and what we do have we spend crazily trying to do too much. Thanks so much for this post!

Kori said...

What a beautiful message; I loved this post, loved this letter.

Laura said...

I loved this post! What a lovely idea to write letters to your daughter and how well-written that was!
Enjoy the gift of time today!

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

This is just beautiful. Your daughter will truly treasure this letter one day. Great post.

Jennifer said...

I am always amazed at the ways you interpret Michelle's themes. Well said again!

ShEiLa said...

I luv.luv.luv this photo with the letter to Esme. When she gets older she will treasure these letters Esme's Mommy.