|By: Debra Waltman|
I have always had a grudging relationship with Time. Tell me I absolutely, positively must be somewhere at a specific time and I,
(skipping blithely down my good-intention-paved road to hell), will be positively, absolutely a couple of minutes late. Or several.
I like to think it is the subconscious reactions of a disorganized and easily distractible mind. I know how long five minutes is. Theoretically. Yet when I say I will be done with something in five minutes, why does my version of five minutes not mesh with the rest of the worldís? I blink, and that five minutes has turned into thirty, and I donít know where the time has gone.
I know it seems hostile and arrogant, making the world revolve around me and my laid-back attitude. Those who love me in spite of myself may believe it is a combination of those things. Thatís their choice. They do know to tell me to be somewhere, oh, about thirty minutes earlier than necessary, and that generally does the trick. Bingo-I am only a couple of minutes late. Or several. Imagine if I had been given the correct time.
When I finished college and took a job with a major airline, (a career with punctuality in the job description) Iím certain my loved ones took bets as to how long that particular carrier would remain in the black. I like to think my Herculean efforts to board the planes on time contributed in some small way.
My personal life, alas, still suffered. Then I became pregnant with Harrison.
If there is such a thing as karma, it stands to reason that my own child would be a couple of weeks late. Or several. Make me stew in an uncomfortably heavy condition, anticipating that, at any moment now, he would arrive.
I petitioned the cosmos. Please, just let him come a little bit early. I was due the first week of December, and I was hoping he could show up for Thanksgiving. Didnít want him to disrupt the holiday season too much, you know. He did anyway. He came 14 weeks early! Was this the karmic version of Payback? In the scheme of life, perhaps 14 weeks early added up to the amount of time I had been late for everything. Those several minutes, over the years, tallied up in some ancient ledger by a God with an incredibly refined sense of humor?
Abruptly, with a baby in a neonatal intensive care unit, Time began to win the life-long grudge match. Those five minutes that used to pass for me in a blur- morphing to thirty in the blink of an eye-well, now they had the feel of five-hundred minutes. The less than three weeks he was on a ventilator, felt like eons. It was ages before I could hold him. Centuries before I could kiss his tiny face unencumbered by tape of some kind. A millenium before he really looked me in the eye and smiled like he meant it. Time was slowed to the drip of primordial sludge. And there was me, suddenly in such a hurry.
Now, ironically, Harrison is just like his mother. After his rush to be here and rock my world, he is in no hurry at all to follow the time-tables the world has set up. His developmental delays keep me awake at night, watching the green neon digital display of the alarm clock go, Click, Click, Click, until I hear him stirring in his crib. I lay awake and obsess. Will today be the day he sits up? Walks? Says ĎMamaí?
Hurry up, baby, you are not following the books. Not following the itinerary for you that I never imagined I would have. I take comfort in cliches like Time Heals All Wounds, and This Too Shall Pass. I am trying to make friends with Time, hoping itís not too late. Hoping I can learn the lessons here that must be obvious, if I could just slow down long enough to learn them.
About the author.
Debra Waltman, mom to Harrison (26 weeker), is at home vacuuming Cheerios from the carpet, and an aspiring free-lance writer for anyone who can recognize raw talent!
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