Slowing Down

It’s been a long week.  My boys are on their spring break, and since we don’t have travel plans it simply means my kids are home from school for two weeks.  Home, here with me, every minute of every day.  From previous posts you may know how much I love that.  Not so much.

Life, as I know it, basically comes to a halt.  No blogging, no hanging out at Starbucks.  Did I mention no blogging?  The quiet and the hours required to read blogs and write my own are no where to be found among the playdates, Wii tournaments, cookie baking and checkers.  The breakfasts, lunches, dinners and housekeeping that comes with having everyone home all day doesn’t allow for such luxuries as quiet time.

By yesterday afternoon I was longing for solitude, hungry for it.  Thinking again how once these guys are grown, they won’t need so much of me.  The pull on me and my time won’t be as great.  I’ve recently written, from my perspective as a mother with breast cancer, how I wanted my children to grow up as quickly as possible.  How I wanted time to breeze along, simply, so I’m still here.  I just want, as any mother wants, to see my boys grown, capable and self-sufficient.  Not just so they’ll be better prepared if something happens to me.  It’s more for me, really.  I don’t want to miss a thing.  Not a moment, not a milestone, not a tear, not a smile.  It’s what I want.

But, still it’s a fight to keep those desires front and center when I’m giving all I have to these small guys for days on end.  Do I want time to pass quickly or take it slow?  Which is it and do I really need to choose?

I’m an old mom, on average.  My first son didn’t appear until I was 40.  I was very used to having my own way, using my time however I saw fit and if that meant wasting hours in front of a computer screen or nose-deep in a novel while dust and laundry piled up, well, so what?

The thing is, that lifestyle doesn’t work with a family and if it does, I haven’t figured it out.  So I struggle.  I crave for time to wallow away, require it to replenish my spirit, almost like a battery charger, but I’m not too upset I no longer have it.

At nearly 5 and 7, my guys are fun, as well as funny.  I love hearing them spout ideas and theories regarding everything from the way birds fly to video game strategy.  I’m in awe of their intensity when debating the benefits of jet packs.  I love that they can find the idea of spending the day in their pajamas just as exciting as a day at the beach.  I love that they still want to hang out with their mommy and daddy.

Yesterday, I unexpectedly found myself alone when my husband took the boys outside to play.  My house was suddenly blissfully quiet.  Laundry put away, kitchen clean, toys more or less picked up, I sat and pondered my next move. Catching up on blogs seemed like a smart use of time, but that meant I’d have to think about something other than myself for awhile and I didn’t feel like doing that. (No offense to my blogger friends.)

Doing absolutely nothing was nice and reminded me of days before children when freedom meant not being responsible for anyone else’s care and well-being.  It was a sweet thought and I lingered in it for a moment, but it was pushed away as I caught a glimpse out the window of my husband taking a boy in each hand and heading down the road to throw rocks in the stream.

I was blown away by the perfection of it all.  I didn’t see faces, only the backs of the three men I love most in the world walk toward the late afternoon sun. The two small ones on either side of their daddy skipping down the road.

I could have watched that scene forever, trying to capture it in my heart and memory as I realized these moments truly are brief.  I can’t rush my boys. Time will have its way and these childhood days will pass in an instant whether I want them to or not.  If slowing down means savoring moments like this…I’ll take it.  Over and over again.  And if I have to give up my own quiet time for now, well, so what?

9 thoughts on “Slowing Down

  1. Ah, I remember those days so well! And your timing with this post was perfect as my boys both have milestone birthdays this week. Believe it or not, I look back at the days of scrambling to find writing time when they were young elementary school age as somehow having been much easier than it is to find it now that they're busy with their own lives–coming and going with and without friends at all hours and needing rides in opposite directions, walking around town without supervision (a whole new level of distracted worry stress)… Sure, I love this stage, too. But the days of LEGO and Spongebob seem so much more peaceful to me in retrospect. I'm sure I'm delusional, LOL. Anyway, I loved your post and of course you have a unique perspective, given your experience. But I think you've captured that maternal nature that exists in all of us to want time to speed ahead one minute and slow down the next–and then look on helplessly as it does its own thing, as, eventually, do our children.


  2. Wow, our spring break is only one week! I haven't had that time alone yet, since Emmy is only 3. When she is at preschool, I am teaching the other class, so I never get a break from kids! I try to enjoy it now, though, since they will grow up too fast. My oldest \”baby\” is already six! I can't believe it.Slowing down is a wonderful idea. 🙂


  3. Almost nineteen years have indeed gone by fast. But every stage of the lives of my daughters have, for Nancy and me, been filled with so much joy that I wouldn't dream of trading the relationships we have today for diapers and projectile achievements.But I do love the memories. Particularly two separate moments Elizabeth and Caroline both shared with their Dad when each took their turn being 4 years old. I have been asked by each on separate occasions to answer an Anatomy question, that. I was, quite frankly surprised to hear from little girls.Upon hearing about a particular body part both wanted to know if they were so equipped.\”Dad, do I have eyebrows?\”


  4. Sweet:) So glad you're doing well, and beautifully said, \”I can't rush my boys\” any more than the rest of us can rush time. In the long run, you won't want to.Jody


  5. Stacey, Lovely post, Stacey. My boys were both just home for spring break, actually one is still here. The days when your kids are small really do go by quickly, that's so cliche, but it is true. I have discovered the relationship with my kids in many ways gets better and better as time goes on. Nobody really told me that and it's something nice to think about. Motherhood is so full of conflicting thoughts and emotions sometimes. You are still a person who needs and deserves alone time, so don't feel guilty about that. The photo of your three guys is perfect. You really captured a lot in that snapshot in time. Enjoy the final days of spring break and all the rest of it too!


  6. Hi Wen, Lego and Spongebob? Have you been in my house recently because that's about the extent of it. I am trying harder to savor the moments, especially when I see your guys and can't get over how fast time has gone. That's an eye opener for me. Thanks for writing.Oh, Ginny, you need some time! I don't know how you get as much writing done as you do with the girls and a job. If it's a secret, please pass it on. I could use it.Thanks, David. That's a cute story. I don't know how your girls got to be the ages they are. I haven't aged at all.Hi Jody, after all my complaining, I do agree with you. I can't and I won't rush them. Time will pass quickly enough on its own. Thanks for reading and commenting.Hi Nancy, I'm so glad to hear that your relationships have gotten better. I hope mine with my boys will be good in those years. Something to look forward as I watch them grow more everyday. Thanks for writing.


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