This morning at the library my son, Max, was a total two-year-old, complete with screaming, crying, hitting, lack of attention, saying “Hiii Ya!” while emptying complete shelves of books. Topped off with a moody librarian stimulatinously scolding my child as I was correcting him. Um, thanks. Amelia, my daughter, who desperately wanted Aurora, and The Helpful Dragon read to her, dug deep into her patience reserves, acting more like a ten-year-old, not the four-year-old she is, while observing her brother losing it and her mother trying to hold it together in front of an audience of strangers.
Long story short, we left. We didn’t complete the Aurora story, and Amelia held it together. She also didn’t fight with her brother over the car seat, as I
requested begged. She was empathetic to me, and I noticed.
When did this transformation happen? The unfurling from a two-year-old learning to self-regulate into four-year-old able to empathize with her mother. An unfurling so slow and gradual, like a fiddlehead of a fern. Yet, look away for a moment, an hour, a day it’s easy to miss.
This got me to thinking about time, in addition to hearing a very poignant installment of radio lab about time, what happened? How are these little beings growing up so gradually and yet so immediately?
“Slowness unlocks something in the original, maybe it was there all along, but we couldn’t hear it (see it). Change the meter and the music has a different story to tell. A secret perhaps, locked up inside the routine. Change the routine, you make new discoveries.”
Time is what allows us to see something change. Living in the midwest we are very attuned to the seasonal transitions. Summer to Fall. Fall to Winter. Winter to Summer. (We don’t seem to have a Spring, Minnesota is funny this way. It will snow until May or June and then be 75 or 80 the next day straight through until Fall.) Growing a garden and having children also bring mindfulness to the transition of time. They remind me I should be more mindful and present. Perhaps I wouldn’t be surprised my daughter is no longer a toddler, or even a young child, but a full-fledged kid. I desire to hold her in time, for even just a moment so I may look at her and see her for who she is right now. But, time can not be contained.
As a parent, I can try and embrace slowness. Perhaps, I just may unlock something in the original that was there all along, but I couldn’t see it. Life and time were moving too fast. But if I change the meter, my children, my husband, my friends, LIFE, may have a different story to tell. A secret perhaps, locked up inside the routine. Change the routine and perhaps make new discoveries. Perhaps cup time in my hands just long enough to satiate my thirst.
Einstein said something to the jist of, “Time is not universal, it is held by the observer.”
I am going to embrace my total two-year-old because he will be a three-year-old soon enough with new celebrations and challenges. And my two-year-old will be gone, locked somewhere inside the unfurling fiddlehead. Hopefully, I may slow time down enough to notice.