Spring Song: Time Flies
Go back! Go back, again!
by April Falcon Doss
My son James is 19 months old now, and he easily fixates on things. When we watch a movie or listen to a song, he wants to replay his favorite things. Its taken me some time to appreciate how narrow his focus can be: It wasnt that he wanted to hear the entire Wiggly Party song again; he just wanted me to replay the opening four or five seconds whose sound effects are particularly appealing to him.
Hes learned already that good things come to an end, and so when were nearing the end of his favorite scene or song, he starts insisting, Go back! Go back again! The other day he wouldnt even let me finish our story: He blocked my right hand from turning the final pages as his left hand flipped back to the beginning so that I could start reading again. He wants to relive the excitement before the glorious moment is even done.
Last week I took four boxes of clothes and three bags of toys to our church for its spring fundraiser yard sale. The clothes my daughter wore when she was an infant and a toddler. The toys my children played with when they were babies. Their utility to us has gone; better they should go to someone who can use them than gather dust in our attic and basement.
But still. As I sorted through those things, my mind filled with memories: Summer crawling, grinning, across a verdant May lawn in the outfit covered with strawberries; James stacking the multi-colored soft rubber blocks; both kids playing with the ring-stacking toy we bought at a grocery store on a weekend away when we were desperate to provide some hotel-room diversions for the kids. All those memories tucked safely into a musty box. All those memories now donated and sold.
Or are they? Motherhood has made me more keenly aware of times passage and the seasons change. Ive seen 36 springs come and go; my children are still in single digits. I used to wonder what my father meant when he talked about spring peaking, its magical moment. But that was 20 years ago. With all the practice Ive had since then, I can see springs magic moment now, too. My children would probably have no idea what I meant if I used those words to them.
So I now enjoy the benefit of some experience and perspective, but they see more details in their fresh attention to things. While Im waiting for the grand climax when that green shimmer overtakes everything, my daughter points out pussy willows and struggles to pronounce forsythia; my son crouches low to sniff the blooms on last falls pansies, astonishing survivors of the winters deep snow.
Time has indeed flown. Im 36, my mothers 61, and soon my daughter will be turning five. Time has spun faster each year and accelerates even faster since I became a mother. Im over a third of the way through the dash now, the dash thatll read 1967 ____ on my headstone someday. Im drawing perilously close to the halfway mark.
Oddly enough, Im okay with the passage of time in my own life. Its in my children that I feel wistful about the change. Its their toys and clothes that I want to hold onto. Its their locks of hair and report cards and paintings that I keep, and its the memories of their younger days that make my heart ache. More than anything else in life, its James and Summer who tie me to this earth, who make me want always to be here for them as my mother always has been for me.
Since I cant press some cosmic rewind button, I steal a few clothes out of the donation box before I drop it off: a few favorite outfits Ill cut into scraps and turn into a memory quilt someday. At least thats my plan, although even as I linger over the outfits Ive chosen, I cant imagine children swirling around me ever finding the time to do something as painstaking as that.
Go back! Go back, again!
Is that how motherhood is for me? In a blur of sleeplessness, I dash through whole days counting the hours until bedtime. Then a better rested moment arrives, and I pause and wonder where the day or month or season went. I find myself wishing long before the moment is over that I could do it all over again.