I want time to stop.
For the record, I have never had that thought before. Never! No matter what phase of life I've been going through; single & unattached, happy couple, new parent, not so new parent, I've never had the urge to stand still. Or rewind and relive any of my glory days. But something occurred to me the other day that changed all that. And now, everything is different.
It all started when I was scrolling through Facebook, or maybe it was Twitter - but I was definitely scrolling through something - when I came across one of those "Words of Wisdom' type thingies that are part and parcel of online life. But they weren't just any ol' wise words, they were the specific ones that used to drive me nuts back in the days of early parenthood. The ones about savouring every moment with your child during the baby years, the toddler years, the early years, all the years. Because apparently, if you didn't, a day would come when you would look at your kids, all grown up, and wish you could put them back on your knee again, or carry them to bed, or rock them to sleep.
Back then - and for many years after- that advice was completely unrelatable. In the midst of nappy wars and baby flab and sheer exhaustion, I just couldn't imagine any of my three tiny people turning into full-size human beings at any point in the future. I simply couldn't fathom how they would ever morph from someone so small into someone so tall that they would one day be staring me in the face. And before you say "Really? You couldn't grasp the basic laws of nature?' - No, I couldn't. They were busy times people! Thinking was a luxury.
Besides, why anyone would want to remain in a time when every moment is accounted for, sleep isn't guaranteed, and they're always at the bottom of their neverending lists, was completely beyond me. It didn't make any sense. I would have written to each and every one of these apparently wise women warning me of what lay ahead and remind them of what they were wishing for - if I only had the time.
But that was before my kids became tweens and I realised they would soon be teens. That they would no longer necessarily do as I asked, or want to spend time in my presence. Or wonder what I was thinking. Or even care to ask. That all the "I love you Mummy' and "Can you read me a story?' and "I want to sit beside you' would soon be replaced with "Uhhh, you're soooo stupid' and "Get me out of here' and "Walk ahead of me, you're so embarrassing.' Or could, at least.
Which is why a large lightbulb suddenly switched on over my head - you know, the way they do in cartoons - and floodlit my entire self. I had almost let the parenting Golden Years pass me by. Years when we're all still together living in the one house. Years when they still honestly believe that we know everything. Years when they're still just kids being kids.
So I've decided to savour these moments. I can't stop time but maybe I can slow it down by staying present when they are, by spending time with them without screens involved, by sitting them on my knee even if they may have outgrown that phase! I can pay attention every time they ask me a question, say yes more than no and most importantly, enjoy who they are right now and who they are becoming. I can take back the controls from Father Time.
Sure, he may be running the hour hand and the minute hand and even the one marking the seconds but you never know, I may just be able to grab the upper hand every now and again. And that will make all the difference.