The Clock’s Ticking…

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So much of being a parent is the sense that your responsibilities to your children will never end. That feeling persists for years and years and then suddenly, you realize it’s all ending and ending very quickly. Last week, my oldest, Bella, turned thirteen and it dawned on me that although there is now light at the end of the tunnel, I really don’t want this to end.

Every morning that I am home, I am the first one awake. Now that my partying days are over (probably), there is nothing I enjoy more than drinking coffee in silence that is ultimately broken by the sounds of birds chirping their balls off. Then, the sound of tiny footsteps coming down the stairs disturbs the peace like a werewolf on PCP. I’ve gone through stages where I resented having this time interrupted, but I grew to appreciate it because my kids are super cute and are just cool people that want to cuddle on the couch and watch TV.

But lately, I only hear the early morning footsteps of Livi, my nine year old, and of Mikey, my five year old. Bella now sleeps late and has become independent. On one hand, it’s a breath of fresh air, as having to care for three other people at once is a lot like being a juggler. Only the fruit you’re juggling asks you questions the entire time you’re tossing them into the air and they’ll somehow manage to spill something on the rug, causing you to drop all your fucking oranges and wonder why you didn’t just buy some friggin’ Sunny Delight to get your citrus fix instead. On the other hand, it’s a blunt, sad reminder that our time together is limited.

That realization of limited time has somehow also given me more time to reflect upon how much I enjoy them. But I now feel like time is being fast forwarded. It’s really uncomfortable because it’s not some shitty movie that being fast forwarded. It’s like I’m watching The Godfather and I’m unknowingly sitting on the remote, causing Sonny to beat Carlo the fuck up with a trashcan in hyper-speed. It blows, because whether it’s watching my babies grow up or seeing some abusive asshole get pummeled with garbage, I want to enjoy each experience in real time.

I now have five years left to enjoy my oldest before she’s off to live her own life. I know that will be exciting to see her do that, but I’ll miss the feeling of her needing me. I like to think I’ll be mindful enough to savor all of our time together and make each moment count. If I forget to do that though, hopefully Sonny will track me down and beat the living piss out of me with a trashcan to remind me of what’s really important in life.

 

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