While the poor CM deals with all the sickness and exhaustion I am going to drop another guest post.
Thanks Al. I’ve been back to the ped with JB today then had to work.. My comments are in red.
The other day I had an interesting talk with my eldest daughter. She has just completed her junior year in college and is turning 21 soon, so it seems that “THE REST OF HER LIFE” is weighing heavily on her mind. Within the last year she has ended a very long term relationship and she was (among other things) lamenting that her “life plan” was now all out of whack.
‘Dad the old plan was I was going to:
Get a house & work
Have kids after two years
And now I don’t know what is happening! I sure don’t want to be having kids when I am 30!”
(for real, this line made me gag a little. I had a baby at 40!)
Big sigh from me. First I pointed out that this fixation on kids was a little squirmy for me since she was talking about me being a GRANDFATHER! I’m so not ready for that. I’m barely middle aged!
(See? Rose colored glasses. In another 48 years he will be 96 years-old.)
After that I went into the whole bit about there being plenty of time. That things would happen when they were meant to. Basically I trotted out all the parental clichés. What I wanted most to give to her, but which is simply impossible to pass on, was a sense of perspective. What I know is that at age 21 the whole world is at her feet and that there is a seemingly limitless quantity of time and options open to her. What she feels is a sense of impending dread at what must appear to be a finite number of life choices that will seal her fate forever.
Kids all seem to relate to time strangely. My 14 year old daughter is mired in the micro level. Time is measured by when school projects are due, and long term for her is the number of weeks before she gets to see the Taylor Swift concert. My 18 year old son has a very different take on time. He prefers to ignore the passage of time and refuses to acknowledge that despite his fervent wishes, he is in fact a man and has responsibilities. I often call him Peter Pan which elicits a very knowing and wicked laugh. He is determined to hold on to childhood until the bitter end. I suspect that he has a much firmer grasp of time than any of us. (Probably. Once you start accepting responsibility it is very hard to give it back!)
For the CM and I, time has a much different relevance. Things are URGENT for us, because we know what we have missed. We chafe at any missed opportunity to see each other. (I’m chafed now, in fact.) We curse out our 17 year old selves and the notion of the ‘Do Over” is a significant part of the vocabulary of our relationship. And when we are together, we often wish to “Stop Time”. To hold on to the most magical moments when being together is so precious and beautiful that we can’t bear to let go. We are lucky to have a lot of these.
|Doesn’t this guy have freakishly big feet?|
CM alluded to “health issues” a few posts back and how that adds to our urgency and our need not to waste time. Those issues are mine. I am not sick per se. I don’t require hospital treatment and it’s not anything that will shorten my life. This is something to be grateful for sure. I’m not in any pain either. What I do have is a deterioration of my eyesight that is forcing me to make major life changes. Driving, for instance, is about to be a thing of the past. Living on my own just got measurably harder. For the two of us we want to be together to have all of the best days possible together. CM acutely feels my loss and wants to care for me. Time for us has become precious.
And Not to be wasted.
Through all of this the biggest thing I try to remember, is that no matter what time is doing to us or how we see it, we have to maintain a firm hold in the present moments. CM can tease me about my rose colored glasses, but I refuse to hold on to sadness or anger for very long. Because when you are running out of time, the moments spent in badness are the truly wasted ones. Recently my youngest daughter spent several hours one night sobbing to me about the next day at school which was shaping up to be terrible. I said to her “Honey you are going to get 22,000 days on this earth and tomorrow will not be your worst one”.
We all do the best that we can. In fact, I will close with my overriding mantra that I trot out whenever any one asks me, “What were you THINKING?”
It seemed like a good idea at the time..
Thank you Al. It was a big deal for you to share your story and perspective here. I love you.