I’m not good with time. Kind of chronically. I’m late a lot. And, for some reason, I think a weekend lasts at least as long as a work week. Sunday evenings are always a disappointed scramble to finish the loads of laundry I thought I had another three days to do.
One thing I notice about time is that it folds over on itself, like the paper fans I used to make when I was little. Second, minute, hour, day, month, year – fold, second minute, hour… When I was a kid, the fold would be on the month, or even the week, or both. I’m probably due for an upgrade any time, and I’ll have my fold on the decade.
When an important event from this year folds on top of a similar important time from the past, a hole is poked into the time between the two events. Then, I can see through it to the event in the past, sort of like brutal, accidental time travel. All that foldy time is jabbed with something sharp and metal, and for some reason, I’m the one bleeding from the puncture.
I suppose it’s not always brutal. Sometimes, it can be a gentle poke and a glimpse into past springs or happy Christmases, or joyous weddings.
But often something has changed, and the difference, good or bad, is painful. Anyone who has suffered loss knows how vicious the jab is between this birthday or holiday and the last happy one with that person. It makes you avoid looking at calendars and keep the shades closed and the lamps lit at all times, so weather changes can’t trick you into stabbing time. None of that matters, because you always know, and it always happens.
My latest time jab was gentler than that, but still brought tears to my eyes. It was just a little day in August when I brought a small boy to kindergarten, poked through to last year in August when he still said “becited and bessert.” And another to the year before in August when he would call, “Wook, Mommy!” And on through diapers and pacifiers. All the way back to when I was a startled, confused and exhausted new mother holding a squirming, befuddling little creature who was so bewitching, I could barely breathe.
It seems like time has folded really quickly since then, and there are a thousand tiny pokes through time to all the little hims he used to be.
But before I get too teary eyed, I remember that these little spots will get folded over again, and before I know it, I’ll get to see all the new little and bigger hims he gets to be. I’m sure curious to meet these hims, but I’m not rushing things. I have a few thousand days left of him in kindergarten, right?
(reposted from last year – but same teary right before school starts)