Time Is The Real Killer

Walking into Peet’s Coffee, inhaling the scent of coffee and seeing all these grown ups leisurely sipping coffee and tea and chatting aimlessly, reading books and newspapers, living grown up lives, I feel a sharp pang of nostalgia. A deep yearning.

This life. I used to live this life.

It reminds me most of college and the early years post-graduation. A free and easy time. No mortgage. No kids. Nothing but time and money. Well, perhaps not a lot of money. But not many of us had a ton of money so it didn’t really matter. We had enough to be comfortable and do the small things we wanted to do. We lived in crappy apartments and ate out at cheap eats.

I miss LA, the city of my young adulthood. Home of late night cafes and Norm’s and lounging in Barnes & Nobles, pretending to do homework or write or whatever, but really using it as an excuse to hang out with friends and chatting deep into the night.

It’s true, what they say; youth is wasted on the young.

Had I realized at the time what I had? That most precious of commodities: an unlimited expanse of time ahead of me. A life unencumbered.

I’d like to think that I did but I’m pretty sure I didn’t. I wasted so much of my free time angsting over love and religion and relationships and boys and just really stupid, worthless things. Well, perhaps not worthless exactly. But certainly not worth the amount of time I obsessed over these subjects.

Why did I not spend more of my time reading, writing, eating, knitting, crafting, and risking? Why did I dream such small dreams? Or worse yet, why did I dream such lofty dreams and do nothing to pursue them?

And now, it’s not so much that it’s too late so much as I am so tired.

The only reason I am writing today is because I asked Hapa Papa a week in advance so that I could ditch the kiddos and sneak away to a café and write. I’ve been slacking lately and I know if I don’t right the ship and get back on course that I’ll blink and it will be another year gone and I’ll have let my thoughts molder by the wayside and BLAM! Next thing you know the kids will be in college and I’ll STILL be just a bundle of potential, a fantastic description when you’re young, a damning epitaph when you’re old.

I have to remind myself that like all things in life, this is only a season. A season of small children with big needs. A season full of small humans whom I love.

Yes, yes. I actually have to remind myself that I love my children.

I know. I’m a terrible human being.

I mean, it’s easy to remember when they’re snuggly and cozy and cute and agreeable and funny and hilarious and doing what I want them to when I want them to in the way that I have told them to. (You know, like good little robots.)

It is terribly difficult to remember when they’re cranky and tired and demanding to play more Halo or candy or cookies or juice because they are SO HUNGRY but yet refuse to eat their oatmeal or sandwich or soup or whatever else I’ve been tricked into providing because they said they wanted that for dinner but take one bite and refuse to eat anymore.

Not that I would know anything about this, of course. Purely a hypothetical situation.

To think that someday, in the near future, I will look fondly back on these chaotic, frustratingly repetitive days and actually miss them. I will write a similar post, perhaps after visiting a new young mother, or perhaps even when being with my own grown children and their small babies.

I think of this possible future and my throat hitches, a lump already forming in my overly sentimental chest.

Someday, someday soon, my babies will be big and grown and independent, with loves and lives of their own. And while of course, every parent aspires to raise good, contributing people full of vitality and love, people who are separate and yet connected, the idea is bittersweet to me. (However tempting a clean, tidy house with nothing but time ahead of me sounds.)

Isn’t that the irony of life? Just when you get what you think you want, you would give it all back just to have a moment of the good old days.

It is the curse and blessing of temporal beings, locked unidirectionally in the forward flow of time.

Carpe that diem, friends. It will be tomorrow before you know it.

What I REALLY Want for Christmas

Since it’s right before Christmas, I figured I would join the fray and throw out what I want for Christmas. (Yes, it’s a fluff piece today. TWSS!) After all, this is the season of getting, right? The thing is, in my household, I’ve just told people not to get me any presents anymore. Anything I want, I get (within reason). I tell Hapa Papa all the time, every day is Christmas thanks to Amazon Prime!

Truthfully, there’s not much I want. Most of my acquisitive instincts have been subsumed into my children’s wants/needs/desires. However, I would like more of the following:

1) Sleep

2) Time to myself

3) Time with my friends (without children)

That’s it. I imagine that’s also what Hapa Papa wants. Too bad for him I’m the Taker in the relationship.

But really, these are all easily attainable. I would also get more sleep if I didn’t act the fool and actually went to bed at a decent hour. Now that the kids are older and play with each other so well, I get a LOT of time to do what I want (as long as the kids are around) when Glow Worm is napping. And I usually get to spend some alone time with my friends on the weekends because of Hapa Papa’s kindness.

Don’t let that fool you into thinking I’m some kind of Zen ascetic. I’m sure I have mentioned that my house looks like a toy store vomited and then a cyclone full of toys and Play Doh hit at 100mph. That’s because I have too many toys. (Which I’m trying to get rid of.) I have both a storage problem and a supply problem! And what do I do about it? BUY MORE TOYS. Because, you know, Cookie Monster is getting older. So, um, I need different toys. I mean, he needs different toys. For big kids. *sigh*

The only good thing about getting rid of toys, (other than all the space it frees up for MORE toys) is that I am having Cookie Monster choose which toys to donate/sell/disappear. He’s not too bad about it, so at least he’s okay with choosing toys he doesn’t really play with (and no, he’s not “donating” the toys Gamera plays with). He does ask why some kids don’t have toys, though. I don’t know that I have a satisfactory answer yet that makes sense in his world. But I’ll keep trying!

Anyhow, what do you want for Christmas? Let me know in the comments.