Poems & Essays

20 Nov

Killing Time

Toddlers to Teens No Response

In time,
the hands of the clock
telling, adding pressure and relieving some
I live.

Watchful, urgent, longing for more.
Clinging to that clock
the one the mouse scampered up and down
Just like me.

My days marked by never enough
and filling each second to the brim
productivity
opportunity
that blaring alarm.

It changes in time.

First at 10:08 when my husband scrawls
the time and “All’s well”
on the hospital dry-erase board.
And labor starts.

And then at 2:41am, a rather unusual time,
in the mysteries of the night
(I will grow to know so well every AM hour
and all its particularities)
a baby is born. My child.

Time does not stop, but I step outside.

At first, thinking,
“At this time, class started.
At this time, I had been working for three hours.
At this time, I went home. Time to myself.”

But eventually (in time) I forget
and time blends.
Chronos into kairos
The specific, the unit becoming rather
a season,
an opportunity,
the fullness of time.

No longer minutes and hours and planning;
Rather, fullness.

The fullness of time, I nurse, I sleep,
I wake.

Pausing to watch him roll over
Sleeping the afternoon away
in damp sheets, his blonde hair curling
from sweat and milk.

There is no clock.
I couldn’t tell you with accuracy
what time his father leaves
(though maybe when he returns).

Night and day merge.

We walk for who knows how long
until we are done
until we are filled
with the fullness of time.

We sit, and at times I’m tempted to count minutes,
to make plans.
to “Hurry up!” (which never actually works).

But it doesn’t matter—it can’t matter as it once did.

Friends come to dinner and stay to fullness.
A birthday is a whole day of celebrating fullness.
The clock speaks only of bedtime
when we pause and sleep to fullness.

We play until we are tired
and filled up like the dandelions
with their bright faces fully in
the sun,
the huge ones he will grow to delight in picking.

We walk with sidewalk chalk in a life-or-death grip
(for this is suddenly what matters!).

Instead of a clock, my days are measured by the sound
of stroller wheels crunching on the sidewalk
and pebbles splashing into the creek.
And yes, in coffee spoons, too.

Peekaboo probably lasts minutes
but can feel so long, so full (sometimes, too full)
that the clock seems to deceive
when it says eight more hours till Daddy comes
and we fill up on dinner
and talk to fullness.

And yet, I mark time, the passage of time,
the fifth day of each month showing me
he is one month older,
I, as a mother, am one month deeper into this new time
I’m further away
from that tiny, perfect newborn
I’m further in
to this thing called motherhood.

When I let it, when I pause and realize that five minutes can be
a long time
or a short time;
a full time
or an empty one,

I am full, too, and did not realize
the dreams filling me up.
I drink deep the life,
can now fully pour out.
hands are full, mind is full.

No longer killing time
seizing it, making the most.

I scamper down the clock,
(and try to stop my mind from scampering frantically back up).
And measure days in
rhythms and seasons
and fullness

of tummies and minds and hearts
and life and one more
beautiful day,
A gift.

Never enough.
Yet somehow just enough
For now. Full.

 

 

Heather Tencza taught English before becoming a mom in 2013, and now she stays home with her two sons and writes in snatches of time. She blogs at http://www.heathertencza.com/ and has been featured on several sites, including Coffee + Crumbs.

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