School holidays and the unstoppable passing of time

31 Jul

I'm yellow but I'm trying to beat timeI haven’t been blogging much over the last couple of weeks, because it has been super-hectic with end of term events. For the first year ever I was around to help at the end of term disco. As I untangled hairbands and prevented children from bolting from allowed to unallowed exterior areas, I was seized by the sudden disorienting, depressing realisation of how quickly time passes.

The Key Stage 2 children, including L1… well just fifteen or so minutes ago they were dancing Gangnam Style – or the 2009 equivalent – with not a thought for how they appeared to the others; whereas now it’s learning routines, navigating who’s dancing and when, and most importantly ensuring that if you have a representative parental helper, they’re not dancing. And L2, previously not a factor in the school equation: suddenly he’s two years in and entering his final year of Key Stage 1 in September. He’s there, at that disco, for one more year only, then he goes into the later party.

The terror of this speed of change pinned me to the spot and has paralysed my writing until now, when I have decided it is time to break the block by writing about it.

To all those around me who had children before me, I admit it, you were right. At the very point when I realised that I wanted every day available to last for ever so I could drink every drop from every moment of their every life stage, time sped up.

The hints started early: the first six weeks that passed in a single inhale; the moment I blinked and realised my seven-month maternity leave finished the following week; two sets of school applications submitted within what felt like weeks; all taking place against a backdrop of birthdays, Christmases, school holidays, holidays away, Bank Holidays – annual events forming the beats to measure the span of our years that sound out an ever faster rhythm.

I haven’t written, recently, because this has made me morbid, too concentrated on a heightened awareness of mortality overall.

But instead of gazing down and as a result slowly collapsing in on myself, I’m going to try and tackle this with an outward-facing attitude. I can’t slow time but I can make the most of time, particularly the time I have with my ever growing but still small children.

Even on those days when time with them is snatched seconds they can be made the most of. I think I’ve written this next bit before, but I find it back and truly relevant in sharp relief. When its their time, our time – the email, the phone call, the hysterical photo of a tortoise wearing a plant pot on Twitter – they can all just hold on a second. I’m making the most of that moment with my children. They may move fast, but this way each one can count.

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