I once again stand humbly in witness of the precision of the plan. I see my unassuming toddler in the landscape of time quite clearly, exposing massively grand themes of life: impermanence, awareness, and relationship.
This has been the fastest slowest two years of my life. It is no secret the days in motherhood are long, and in the midst of an endless afternoon it can appear there is a surplus of hours to burn memories, time to get it right, and time to savor this experience. Then in a single moment of a seemingly endless day a glance at an old photo brings me to my knees where I can loosely detect a vanished scent of newborn baby and sweet mama milk. I see I have been deceived by this stretching of time. I have been misled by the length of the day. Somewhere in the fog of this time warp phases are forever gone and new stages have arisen. Teething is over, and tantrums begin. Coos are over, and kisses begin. Even as time seemingly stands still, the change of seasons appears to happen in one rotation of the orb. In a particular day there is no clear division of past, present, or future, but the stages and phases of development show the passing of time through evident change. Through my son I see very plainly that all of life is change, all of life is movement, and it must at least in part be this impermanence that leads me to value the fullness of the moment.
I set down the photo and heed to the fact that the time is now. This still passing of lengthy days is the inherent nature of motherhood. This endless momentum at a glacial pace is a microcosmic teacher. The clock has slowed for me. This slowing of time is a gift. These long days are purposeful. This is for me. These long days allow me chance after chance to connect, disconnect, succeed, fail, and reconnect. The clock has slowed for me to adjust into motherhood, find my footing, lose my footing, and stand again with time enough to experience this pressing and precious phase of life. It can seem sometimes that life flashes before my eyes, but in this experience of motherhood the seconds tick a bit slower providing me a bumpy, but wide path to repeatedly bring my careful attention back to this priceless moment in life. I am human; moments are missed and connection often curtailed, but the days are forgivingly long providing the time in space to make correction and wake up to the awareness of what is. When intellectualized, awareness can seem elusive, but this presence of being is not separate from the small moments of everyday life. It is this presence that is found within the very material of relationship itself.
I yield to motherhood. This is the slow season of presence and connection, and every season has its place. I live in a city that tells me more, faster, efficiency, and automate, while my baby tells me less, slow, relish, and with intimacy. As a mother I am in a position where connection matters, where relationships matter, where love matters above all else. This is a moment in life where short cuts do not exist, where there is no benefit for streamlining, and where the bulk of what is important lives in the slowing down to the tiniest of moments. When I look back and it seems as though time has slipped through my fingers, I then witness the connection, the relationship built, and I remember that this bond happened not automatically but over time in the slowest of days and in the stillness of seconds. In this essence of presence, the moments gone are not sadly missed but are very real, vivid memories as energy has been spent in the slow savoring of experiences as the building blocks of our relationship.
Time passes as it comes, and there is no holding on. There is only the present and hopefully for mother, an expansive empty presence open to experiencing the fullness of this heart bursting, exhausting, amazing, defeating, demanding, and perfect divinity. My son, my greatest teacher, exposes to me so simply in his natural intelligence the essence of life. The unobstructed wisdom of a toddler reveals to me that all of life is change, the fullness of experience is only the available in awakening to the present moment, and ultimately these small moments within the longest of days are the fiber of this essential relationship.
IMAGE CREDIT: Leo Lo Photography