It is a very strange thing. Sometimes time flies….sometimes it stands still.
Last Monday (Christmas Eve), I took Noah with me on a last-minute shopping excursion (very silly idea….why would I want a 3-year-old running errands with me?!?). It certainly altered time. Choosing the “family” personalized ornament occurred much more quickly than usual, as my contemplation was constantly interrupted by the need to vocalize “don’t touch; don’t touch” rather than focusing on which one to choose! Leaving the mall took much longer than usual as we had go up and down the escalator….and then ride the train (“please, Mommy, please”), and walk slowly through the people, and stop at the candy machine (I spoil on Holidays :)) ….but I did refuse to give an hour of time to wait for a photo with Santa.
Christmas Day was absolute chaos. I realize I had told a friend the prior Sunday that we were having a “small and quiet” Christmas since it was just our family and my parents. But there’s nothing quiet about 5 little boys…..nothing quiet!…and very little seems “small” when they are awake and moving!
When most of the rapid ripping off of wrapping paper, incessant clambering about “where’s another present for me?” and nonstop squealing and yelling had finally driven me into the kitchen for a moment, I was shocked to see that it was only 10 o’clock. How could time stand still within all this commotion?!? Fortunately, it sped up from there.
And time interacts with stress in unique ways (holidays provide plenty of “positive stress”). We enjoyed a lovely Christmas Eve service accompanied by candlelight, but I wanted time to hurry up as I stressed about burning down the church. Christmas Day was a stress to all and each boy handled it differently. Micah couldn’t control his behavior and required banishment time (to the tune of about 3 hours) to take a break upstairs. Noah had trouble remembering to take the time to GO to the bathroom….ahem…and forgot to take those needed breaks. Seth, however, was granted a timely nap from the utter confusion of flying wrapping paper, noisy new toys, bouncing balls, and excited squeals of joy. I could barely move by 7pm and collapsed into a sound sleep before 9 after bedding three exhausted ones.
Wednesday was a golden day, however. The snow fell softly and steadily. There was no thought of leaving the house. The boys played happily together with their new toys (how very strange) and we all just enjoyed seemingly endless “time” together.
Despite thinking that 5 days with the boys would be quite enough time, when I dropped Noah and Seth off at daycare Thursday morning, I walked out with tears in my eyes. I had so enjoyed my time with them that I didn’t want to part with them to return to work. I made it through half the day before I picked them up again. Noah was thrilled that he only had a “little time” at daycare.
Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. I could be cliché and say “where has the time gone?” Where has this year gone? Where did December go ….and how did Christmas slip by so quickly?
But I could also say that I have enjoyed the time I’ve had with the boys this past week. I’ve enjoyed the months that I’ve had with the boys this past year. And I’ve enjoyed so many little minutes and so many moments with the boys….those that you tuck away in your heart. Those moments that you take the time that you didn’t expect to. When you lay on the living room floor for 5 minutes with Noah and set the camera’s timer and make goofy faces together….and say to yourself, I know it’s bedtime….but this time is precious. These smiles are precious. This joy is precious. These boys are precious.
A long time ago, a little baby boy was born in a manger. Time stood still that night. Time flew over the next two thousand and twelve years. Time is really a gift that we have – to love, to cherish, to celebrate and to do great things. May we remember to take the time when we need to, use the time we have wisely, and share the gift of time with those we love whenever we can.