I remember (albeit vaguely) the lazy, hazy days of my childhood and hold dear some very fond memories from that time. Summer holidays seemed to stretch into eternity and a day, a week, a month, held endless possibilities. So much to do, so much to see, so much to learn.
As those delicious, warm and fuzzy memories soften a little round the edges, I truly hope that I’ll remember them for many years to come. But what about the years ahead? Is it just me, or is time and everything that it sweeps up in its blustering path now hurtling towards me at break neck speed? Does it swallow me up in its veritable whirlwind and spit me out on the other side, my head spinning, my feet throbbing and my heart aching for a little more time with my daughter as a baby? Yes, it undoubtedly does and its increased speed and fleeting, lingering touch is something that terrifies me.
Did someone accidently (or perhaps on purpose) press the fast forward button around this time last year, placing me on the fast track of life? Perhaps it was Holly? Maybe she triggered something within me, as she was born, meaning that now, life hurtles by at a terrifying rate, never to be slowed to the protracted, languid pace of life we all once knew.
Is this what parenthood is all about? I mean, time has passed faster and faster as the years of my life have increased in number – of that I have no doubt. But since Holly burst into our lives, my husband and I both agree that we’ve entered some kind of warp speed. Simple jobs that used to be completed in one afternoon now take careful planning, many aborted attempts and several days to come to fruition. Months disappear in the blink of an eye and meal times come around with alarming regularity.
Is it something to do with living by such a routine, necessitated by living with a baby? Perhaps, as a child I took no notice of the hours ticking by. My schedule was the responsibility of my Mum. I cared not for timings, timetables or itineraries. Now, as a Mum myself, timing is so important. Nap times, meal times, play times, changing nappy times, bath times, bed times… the list goes on.
And no sooner was my little one born than she smiled her first smile, enjoyed (perhaps overstating it) her first meal, cut her first tooth, sat up for the first time, broke into her first crawl, babbled her first nonsense sentence, stood her first stance and called me ‘Mama’ for the first time. All these things have happened, and many more. And still she’s only one year old. Where did that year go?
I know that I am incredibly lucky and we have so many wonderful, happy memories to make in years to come. But seriously, why does this magical, enchanting, heart rending time as the parent of a baby have to be gone in the blink of an eye? Is it some kind of cruel trick of nature? This has been, bar none, the most amazing time of my life so far and I’ve loved every millisecond, no matter how fleeting. My only slight regret is that it had to go by quite so quickly. Everyone always said to me “Make the most of it, they aren’t babies for long”. And this, just like many of the other clichés in life, has turned out to be alarmingly true.
I know that time marches on. But could we maybe rein it in to a sedate plod rather than a frantic gallop? Please?
by Helen Bowman © 2011
Helen Bowman is a freelance writer, editor and proof reader who lives in Whitley Bay and works with small companies, individuals and groups to write, edit and proof read articles, press releases, website copy and all forms of the written word.
Contact her on 07725 196929 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.