My niece Leslie, me, and Atticus (baby bump)
In 1993, just during this time of year, I was four months pregnant with Atticus. I went to meet our real estate agent who was trying to sell our condo in Barrington (which is another story all together).
I got out of my car and she got out of hers, and she turned slowly to face the late afternoon sun and squinting at my baby bump she smiled and pointed at me,
"Watch out. One minute you look like that, and the next you're going to help him pick out his prom tux," which is what she had just been doing prior to meeting me there.
Now this is a sentiment all parents have heard many times and it was not the first time I had heard it and certainly not the last. But it is the time that sticks with me the most; I think because she said it without sentiment, without regret, but simply as an irrefutable fact in the same tone you might say "The sun has always set in the west," and I know I felt a chill run up my spine on that warm May night because I got it. I really got it.
I used to be slightly annoyed with this kind of advice because really, what can you do about it anyway? Are they telling me I should try to slow time down? Well, that's how I interpreted it for a long time and I really did try. Mightily.
In fact when I listened to Joni Mitchell's Circle Game (yes, I know I've referenced this song before) I would wait to hear the milestone that most closely marked my eldest child's time with me and I would feel triumphant if we hadn't gotten there yet.
Yesterday a child came out to wonder. Caught a dragon-fly inside a jar and I'd think, "Yes, he still does that!"
Skated over ten clear frozen ponds "Yes! He's only nine! Lots of time left"
This is delusional behavior and maybe even slightly psychotic and it did not work. Time did not slow down. In fact, it sped up and before I knew it, cartwheels turned to carwheels round the town.
And today is senior prom and I remember Deb Villers saying that to me all those years ago.
And I thought about it as we picked out Atticus's tux this week (white dinner jacket, black pants, yellow vest and tie to match her dress, thanks for asking.)
And I thought about what that advice really means. Because of course it does not mean "Be careful time goes fast, try to slow it down." It means "It goes so fast so enjoy, embrace every minute. Savor every peanut-butter and jelly kiss, every night up in the bathroom with the shower steaming for a croupy cough, every god-awful honking squeaking band concert, and every psycho teen-aged melt-down. Because it does go crazy fast but it is also crazy fun and worth it all."
For new moms everywhere (shout out to Leslie who is in that photo above) --you cannot slow the circle down.
But you can enjoy every single spin you take around it.