Ever hear of the story where an old woman, a witch of some sort, hands a boy a magical spool of yarn? If he tugs on it, he can speed through the “boring” parts of life. At the end of the story he realizes it’s all those boring little bits he sped through which defined life. He’s lived without really experiencing much of anything. “The Magic Thread” is a French fairy tale with a cautionary message of what is important in life. There are days, like today, where I wish I had a magic time machine that did just the opposite.
There are moments in life, often just seconds, where you acutely feel the passage of time. Caught up in the day to day, once you leave childhood behind it seems to fly faster and faster. I try to savor the little things in life, to appreciate the snuggles and even the stuff strewn across my living room floor. I know there will come a time when I’ll have a neat and quiet house, no one will interrupt my attempts to sleep in on Saturday, and I won’t have to hide the cookies to keep little hands from filching them before dinner. Most days I do not look forward to that. Oh, sure, it would be nice to walk through a house without tripping over a random pair of shoes or a stuffed animal, but those little things are worth enjoying the now.
My eldest started middle school today. As his aunt noted, he is still, in a very sweet way, a bit of a clingy child at times. When this involved him literally begging me to hold him every five minutes until he hit two to three years old, it drove me nuts some days. Now, I find that lingering echo of his toddler years bittersweet. He wanted me to walk him in as I have done every year on the first day of school. Alas, the school would not let me; too many people to let the parents go in with them. Last year he feigned the oh so grown up air, but the grin on his face when I stopped by his room for a quick, “Got every thing? You good?”, followed by a hug belied his attempt at being “grown up”.
No doubt today he saw some of the eighth-grade boys which dwarfed me and didn’t feel quite so grown-up anymore. I remember that feeling. Unlike him, due to the transportation arrangements when I was a kid, I never once walked into school on the first day holding my mom or dad’s hand. My mom did walk with us to school the year my sister started kindergarten, but I was in fourth grade that year and big enough to find my classroom without assistance. Still, I recall the jitters and the worry of what to expect. I got through every year, so I know he’ll be fine, but in that moment where he glanced at me for reassurance time stretched like a rubber band. He was a baby and then a toddler, and then starting kindergarten, and now off to middle school.
It seems like just a few days ago I was trying to get him to give up his binky and scrubbing Sharpie off of his face. Now I’m handing him a spare set of keys to the house. In five years it will be car keys. In seven years he’ll be heading for college. I know better than to want to freeze time, but oh to slow it down a bit now and then. Besides, I could totally use it to get in some extra sleep.