I am both happy and sad when people ask me why The Juggle Struggle rarely sees a new post these days. Happy that anyone cares…sad that I am not writing like I used to. The truth is that I have a lot that I want to write, but my focus and discipline have hitched a ride out of town. I haven’t completely given up, though, and I am compelled to write a little now to mark the ninth anniversary of this blog.
On October 18, 2012, I wrote my first post. The ol’ girl’s been around for a while and seen many changes over the years…the blog, me…the world. So much is so very different. But one thing is always constant: There are 24 hours in a day, and the days just keep getting logged into the book of life.
My church is currently studying No Cure for Being Human, by Kate Bowler, and today we discussed the idea of “spending” time–as the currency that it truly is–and what it means about the choices we make. This perspective of time as a finite entity makes me think of something I came across a few years ago via Tim Urban’s Wait But Why site. He does some wonderful things with numbers, and one spin of his really drives home the point about our time on this planet. Below is what a 90-year lifespan looks like in weeks…and the blue line is where I am…
…well past the half-way mark…IF I make it to 90. That’s a lot to take in.
And in taking a peek back on this anniversary at some of my previous posts, I remembered the one that I am sharing below. I wrote it when my son was 10–and it speaks to how much time we had left before he turned 18. Well, guess what? That milestone was reached earlier this year. Reading what I wrote then is obviously poignant to me now.
It happened in a mere blink.
What will the next blink bring? How many blinks do I have left?
Time marches on…
So…happy anniversary, The Juggle Struggle! I am grateful to have the words to string together that can sometimes matter to people. And I am grateful for every reader who gives me a few minutes of their precious time to read those words–I appreciate you more than you know!
And now, if you care to read on, I offer you the post that I wrote eight years ago…thinking about the time that I am actually facing now. A blink indeed.
936 and Counting
Originally posted September 30, 2013
Time flies. We all know this. The only case where time does NOT fly is instances like when you’re stuck in a boring workshop where they have the thermostat set so cold it just may crack off a body part and all you can think about is lunch. Then it’s slow. But typically, another week comes and goes and it feels like a blip on the radar.
Recently, I had a 1-2 punch that was the kind of coincidence that makes me stop and think. I saw a framed graphic at a family member’s house that said something along the lines of “940. The number of Saturdays until your child reaches 18.” Me being me, I checked the math (52×18=936) and wondered why they added the extra month. Googling it, 940 is the number used again and again, but I like the number 936 better than 940 anyway, so I’m sticking with that. (Why the extra four? Can you guess?)
The very next day I was speaking to a friend, and she said her pastor’s message that Sunday was on pretty much the exact same thing. He had a jar of marbles that visually represented how many weeks were left before his daughter turned 18. The emphasis being, of course, that we use our time together wisely. It is fleeting.
So there I was, with two totally different avenues leading me to the same wakeup call: we only have so much time with our children before they are off and running in the world.
Of course, I know this. But when you put a finite number around it, it drives it home even further. Tick…tock…and another week is gone. Another marble leaves the jar.
I have issues with time management. I just do. I aspire to knock the hell out of each day, and before I know it, I’m brushing my teeth before bed.
But the clock of life is wound but once…
My son had his feet resting on my lap the other day, and…they were huge. What happened to the teeny ones that I nibbled on and made him giggle?
He was just sharing with me his fascination with the circulatory system that he’s learning about in science class. Only yesterday he was learning the alphabet.
I tell him—like my dad always told me—there will always be room on my lap for him. But the last time he tried it, we laughed together at how comical we must have looked.
If my math is right, we’ve had 541 Saturdays together…and only 395 left before he turns 18.
395. 3-9-5. Holy crimony.
Thankfully, I am wise enough to know that these days do not need to be chock full and supercharged to be meaningful. I think back to my own childhood, and I realize that while there are some “big” memories of trips and special events—the real things that stick are the small things. The moments. It didn’t have to be anything special—just a time where I felt that I mattered. I don’t even think those thoughts typically cross our minds when they are happening—it’s like they just go into a special reservoir of love, where for some reason, we feel it and cherish it.
So, before I “lose my marbles” with my son, I need to remind myself that the moments count. That just because we may not be able to carve out the better part of a day to do something significant, I can still get out and play touch football with him and his dad.
I can genuinely listen to him catch me up on the first part of the “Full House” episode that I am sitting down to watch the rest of with him.
I can make time for a bike ride on a beautiful fall day, even if deadlines are looming.
I can share in his joy at the occasional 49¢ McDonald’s ice cream cone.
While we still do need to hit the “big” things and make those memories, it’s important to remind myself in the swirl of the day that not all is lost as long as we remember the moments, too.
Because that is what he will remember. The moments.
936 down to 395.
It’s not about us putting more stress on ourselves because who needs more of that? What it is about is keeping the perspective that we do have a finite time with our children, and it does matter—to them and to us—and it is all a blessing of unknown impact and meaning.
So amidst the flurry and chaos of everyday life, I’m going to strive to remember to jump in the leaves. Even if it means we have to rake them all over again.