Several years ago I read a short story by Stephen King titled, "My Pretty Pony." It was pretty different from most of the things you would expect to read in a collection of Stephen King's short stories. There wasn't a gruesome creature and no one was murdered. According to wikipedia: An elderly man, his death rapidly approaching, takes his young grandson up onto a hill behind his house and gives the boy his pocketwatch. Then, standing among falling apple blossoms, the man also "gives instruction" on the nature of time: how when you grow up, it begins to move faster and faster, slipping away from you in great chunks if you don't hold tightly onto it. Time is a pretty pony, with a wicked heart.
I originally remembered it because it was so different form the other stories in the book, but as I grow older I find that (as in many other things) Stephen King was right. Time is a pretty pony that will dart away if you aren't paying attention. Before you know it, you've lost months to simple inattention, or business.
I can't tell you how many times I've been stopped in the grocery store in the last year and had some older woman tell me that she remembers how sweet her children were at Jonah and Caroline's ages. She's always got a little glimmer of wistful sadness in her eyes, as though she'd like nothing more than to make her children young again so she could scoop them up in her arms and cuddle them all day. It never fails that when this happens I have been having the kind of day where I might gladly trade my children for a bottle of Cheerwine and a bubble bath.
God is probably using them all to tell me something. Slow Down! Spend more time playing with them and even less time cleaning and doing laundry! This will pass so quickly- you don't want to miss these moments.
How many times a day do I tell my children to hurry up? How many times do I become impatient with them because they want to stop and look at every leaf or flower?
My children are currently napping and I am thinking of the dozen or so things on my to-do list that seems only to grow longer as the day goes on. Even these few moments that I have to myself feel too few and too fast.
I take more pictures. I try to spend a little time alone with each child every day. I try to have more patience, less worry about the dishes and cobwebs in the corners. Jonah grows and inch every time I turn around and Caroline is getting big so fast. I want him to be innocent and for her to have the chance to be a baby for a while longer, but time marches forward. Gallops forward.
So I'll take a minute and reign in the seconds... I'll count them slowly so they don't slip away.