When I was a child I longed to be older – I wanted to be 11 and go to big school like my sisters. Then I wanted to be 15 to get into films with that age restriction. Next it was 16 to do all the naughty things you could legally do at that age. 17, so I could learn to drive. 18 – the holy grail of ages! An adult, then I could do WHAT I wanted. Then when I was 18 I couldn’t wait until the summer when I would finish school and go off to university.
A childhood of wishing away my life. Now I’m sooooo much older I try to be better and to live life in the now. Although of course I’m no longer anxious to get to my next birthday. As if! Yay, 39, whoop, whoop. Said no one ever. But it is easy to wish the week away to get to the weekend. Or to count down the days to your next holiday.
And suddenly time speeds up.
It really hit me the other day, just how fast life is flying by, when I looked at these two.
L will be going into Year 3 in September. As in starting the juniors! How did that happen? Surely it was just yesterday that she was this cheeky little toddler, dancing around at Fête de la Musique in France?
And now my big girl is moving into the next stage of her primary schooling, where she’ll be taking on more and more responsibility and independence. Whilst I’m really happy for L to do this, and I don’t want to hold her back, or keep her as my baby, I just wish I could hold on and savour these moments that little bit longer.
If L follows her mum and dad then she’ll be going off to university in 11 years. Which is fine, great in fact. But 11 years is not all that long. Not when you think that 7 years has literally gone by in the blink of an eye.
Then there’s C. Our baby. Except she’s not such a baby anymore. At nearly 20 months old she’s closer to 2 now than she is to 1. And toddler is no longer the word, runner and climber would be better ones to describe her.
Again, HOW did that happen? I literally just gave birth to her. Like yesterday. How is she no longer this small baby that looks a bit like an old man?
C is no longer this baby that eats, sleeps and poos, she has now developed her own little character. She is known in our house as “clown” (pronounced clune in French) or “frapadingue” (crazy one), as she’s always pulling the funniest faces and making us all laugh so much with her mad antics.
Now I know you can’t stop the passing of time, as much as I wish there were a pause button. Instead I suppose you have to start enjoying the everyday things, and not wish the days away until the weekend or a holiday. Appreciate breakfast together as a family, with phones switched off and books put away. Take time to talk, cuddle, play, and not to think about other things you should/could be doing.
These are all the things I’m trying to remember to do every day. I find it so easy to say to my kids “wait until I’ve hung this washing out” or to only half listen while I do something on my phone. And I’m making a conscious effort to be in the now with them, to watch, to listen, to play, to enjoy, to live. When it comes down to it it’s about spending quality time together – i.e. time where you are present – that counts.
That is my (new) way of handling the passing of time. Switching off from the outside world and my to do list, and switching on to my family. So when my girls have flown the coop I will remember tickles and laughter with C on the sofa on a Tuesday at home. And cuddles and chats with L in bed before I say goodnight. The everyday stuff. That’s what I want to savour now. Every day.