32: While Time Flew By

32: While Time Flew By

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Multitasking Mom's Survival Guide

While Time Flew By

Time is what we want most, but… what we use worst.

~William Penn

I remember the stay-at-home days when my two toddlers, just two years apart, filled every minute of my day. A short walk to the mailbox during their afternoon nap was like a trip to the park. Just having a few minutes to take a deep breath and feel the sunshine on my face was heaven. I loved my little boy and girl with all my heart, but I wondered if I would survive motherhood.

Don’t get me wrong. Although I was exhausted most of the time, the rewards were great. Not everybody had the privilege to stay at home with their children and see their first steps and hear their first words. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I really should be writing all this down, I thought. But there simply wasn’t time.

Sometimes, I selfishly longed to go back to work. It would have been so much easier on me, and on our budget. But looking back at my own childhood, I never remembered coming home to an empty house. Mom was always there, waiting to welcome us. I wanted that for my kids, too.

I continually asked for God’s help. Ironically, Sunday church service was one of my biggest challenges. It had seemed easy for my mom. But I had no idea how much work this commitment was going to involve. It might have been a day of rest for some, but for me it was a day of stress.

It didn’t take me long to learn one thing — all the planning had to take place on Saturday night. Clothes had to be ironed, shoes had to be polished, socks had to match, baths all around.

The next morning, getting everybody fed and dressed — in the right order — took more talent than I thought possible. To me, I had the cutest kids in the world, and I wanted them to look their best. That meant my son wore a shirt and tie; my daughter, a frilly dress. Keep in mind, this was the 1970s. We had yet to integrate dressing “casual” into worship services. The first time I wore a “pantsuit” to church, my grandmother nearly fainted. “I never thought I’d see the day,” she said. In her way of thinking, I was treading on dangerous ground.

By the time we got to Sunday school, I was so tired and drained that I was sure it showed. Wiping faces and combing hair, I hurried the kids to class and made a quick stop at the restroom to run a comb through my hair and try to smooth the wrinkles out of my dress.

By the time I got settled into the adult class, I was out of breath, and not in any shape for concentrating on God’s word. My mind couldn’t slow down after running at full speed for so long. Then, out of nowhere, the cute things the kids had said all week replayed in my head. I have to write them down, I thought. But there was never any time.

Before I knew it, both my kids were in school. Now, I thought, I’ll have time to write things down. But school activities and homework presented new challenges. When the kids caught the bus in the morning, I had so many things to do at home. And before I turned around, they were back again.

Then, all of a sudden, they were grown up. The years of bottles and diapers were over. The years of learning to crawl, walk, and talk — gone for good. The years of school functions, ballgames, and homework — long past. The years of being best buddies with their mom — a distant memory. Instead, I was watching them start their own lives — leaving home, getting married and having babies. The most precious days of my life were gone in the blink of an eye. I wish I had written it all down.

~Linda C. Defew

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