August is a big month in our home. We celebrate our two sons' birthdays, as well as mine. Our boys eagerly await August, counting down the days several months in advance for their birthdays to arrive. I, on the other hand, have found myself crying as the month approaches knowing that another year has gone by, that my babies are growing too fast, and that with each year that passes, they are one year closer to branching out into adulthood.
There have been too many nights when I panicked as I began to fall asleep, fearing that I will not wake up the next morning. I am uncertain as to whether I experienced lucid dreaming or whether I was fully conscious during these breathless episodes as the experience was always a familiar blur the next morning. I would catch myself suddenly gasping for air, whacking my husband mid-sleep as I convinced myself that I was dying, and literally fought my eyes from closing until I could no longer resist sleep. I have never been a particularly anxious person but whenever I have obsessed over time, and how quickly my little ones are growing, I was immediately struck with panic. TIME. What is time? How is it really measured? I cannot quantify it except that it is passing by at lightning speed and I can't seem to catch it despite constantly chasing it, yearning to catch it and grab it and lock it up or feed it to one of the alligators on the island. TIME. Time is one of our biggest assets and blessings, yet so many people abuse it and wake up one day to a life that has passed too fast. I have diligently been aware of this asset and have made it a point to spend my time making memories, experiencing, and learning as much as I am able to. Even with this relentless determination to grasp it and maximize it, it just keeps slipping away. As we approached August last month, my mind obsessively focused on the past four years longing more than anything in the world to have those years back. In four years my oldest son will be leaving home for college. Just four years ago he slept in my bed, had a "kid accent", drew me loving pictures. I couldn't handle the idea that time is taking my kids away from me and thrusting them towards adulthood. They are my lifeline, my purpose, my core. They are every ounce of every memory, and I can't fathom, I just can't begin to imagine, that in just four years one child will be on his way into manhood as the other two slowly follow. This thought is so heart wrenching and cruel that I literally have spent years lamenting about what is unavoidable.
This August, something changed. It suddenly clicked. This is the first August I didn't weep. Not a single tear. Spending all these round the clock hours with my kids for the past five months has made me realize that I actually love that they are getting older! We hang out all day long, talk politics, work out together, plan our next trips together...we have been together non-stop since the pandemic. They have become my best friends, my peeps. They have grown into people I truly love spending time with and I seriously have spoken with them more in the past five months than I have talked to anyone my entire life. Time is a gift and if you cherish and nurture it, and if you're really lucky, then it continues to snowball into stronger relationships, more memories, endless laughs. Time used to feel like it was snowballing out of control. These days I literally visualize it collecting great shared moments as it rolls forward into the future, growing larger and fatter with more great memories and experiences one year at a time. I am totally aware that the snowball will crash one day but unlike before, I am not clenching on to thin air. They will grow. They will move out. They will fall in love. They will have their own lives. In the meantime, rather than sobbing about these realities, I will focus on the time we have now in order to further solidify the time we will hopefully have together in the future. Now, later. Yesterday, tomorrow. It's really all a blur. It also really doesn't matter when we realize that our time is limited, yet limitless. No more tears around birthdays. I will now share the same enthusiasm my kids have when they mark another year, except that I won't measure it as a year. I'll just view it as a great reason to bake a special cake.