Time goes by too fast. Yet some days, like today, seem to never end. I keep spinning on this tire swing, and everything begins to blur.
The constant bickering between my son and daughter, the complaining, the piles of dirty laundry on our bedroom floor, the Halloween pumpkins covered in snow on my front doorstep, the screaming over having to put on a jacket, the chaos.
Some days feel like they will never end. On these days I like to play a game called, “How long can I last until I pour myself a glass of wine?” I’m pretty proud of myself. I made it to 7:00 p.m. today. But I’m not proud of myself for letting all of the chaos get to me. After cleaning the living room floor for the first time in God knows how long, my daughter knocked over a plant which spilled dirt all over the freshly Swiffered floor. I slammed a cupboard door as hard as I could while I stomped into the kitchen to grab a paper towel to clean the mess up. And then I grunted like a wild animal. That was me trying to hold my shit together. The chaos got to me.
As I look out the kitchen window now and see the glowing blanket of snow in our backyard, I find it hard to believe that it was only three weeks ago when my family took a walk to the park together to escape the clutter of boxes and piles of things with no place yet in our new home. My husband and I had been preoccupied with unpacking for several days, and the kids wanted nothing but our undivided attention. We decided we needed a break from housework; our kids needed us to take a break. The four of us crowded around the front door, we stumbled into each other as we put our shoes on, we locked up the house, my husband held our son’s hand, and I held my daughter’s hand. We walked two blocks to the park in the afternoon sun, and as we all took a deep breath of the fresh, warm, fall air, I could sense a wave of peace settling in our hearts and minds.
The walk was short, but it was just enough time to breathe. It was just enough time to bring me back to the moment. Yes, we needed to unpack so we could settle into our new home, but the truth is, we were already settled.
“Mommy, you’re it!” My son yelled with glee as he ran toward the playground. “Mommy, push me,” my daughter demanded with joy as she climbed onto a swing. “Someone come sit on the tire swing with me,” I shouted with excitement. My son came running toward me and I scooped up his heavy body and sat him across from me on the swing. My husband gave us a quick, hard spin and we screamed as we held on tight while watching everything else swirl around and around behind us. The trees, the sky, and the playground turned to a blur. I looked at my son. Everything behind him remained blurred, but I could see him clearly as we continued to spin.
His wide smile. The joy in his eyes. It melted my heart.
In that moment, time stopped. It stopped long enough for me to breathe in the chaos and breathe out peace. It stopped long enough to remind me that the blur of it all is simply part of the background. Time stopped long enough for me to acknowledge that things will never stop moving, growing and changing around me. It stopped long enough for me to see that all that mattered was that I was there on that swing with my son. We existed. We existed not in the background, but in the foreground—before the blur.
“Wheeeeeee!” We screamed as we continued to spin. Time stopped for a moment, yet, it flew by so fast. Within seconds my son begged me to stop the tire swing. He jumped off laughing, stumbled around for a few steps, caught his balance, and then he was on his way to climb up the ropes.
Times goes by so fast. Sometimes I spin so much that everything around me turns into a blur. Sometimes the blur is all I can see, and it slows me down. But when I think about that moment with my son on the tire swing, I am reminded that the blur is simply part of the background. I exist. My kids exist. My husband exists. And we are settled on this tire swing together.