It’s 12:38 a.m. and I’ve finished working and turning in my hours for the pay period. It does not seem normal to be awake at this hour of the night. Usually, the phone rings at least once or twice in the mornings before I’m fully coherent. I manage to make my 10-year old a school lunch and comb his hair every morning before 8 a.m., but then I always return upstairs to my still-warm bed and fall semi-conscious for awhile.
I’ve always been predisposed to a nocturnal life, but for almost the entire last fifteen years I’ve been required to recalibrate my settings and rise early. When my twins were babies, they woke up every morning at 5:30 or 6. Until they were about four years old, they woke up that early, no matter what time they went to bed. For those four years of ruthless mornings, I vowed to get revenge when they were teenagers, but as it turns out, it’s so nice and quiet when they are sleeping late that I do not bang pots and pans by their heads at 6:00 a.m. to torture them as they tortured me for those long years.
Time is so odd because sometimes it stretches way past the horizon. You can’t imagine anything will ever change. You’ve been changing diapers forever or wiping noses for an entire lifetime. You can never imagine sleeping in until 10 a.m. or driving anywhere without buckling everyone into carseats or leaving a child behind when you run errands.
And then one day you look up and everything’s changed. Your kids are taller than you, your baby can grate cheese all by herself, and your mother is almost 65 years old. And that very day you get a letter from your immortal great-aunt and in her suddenly shaking cursive she tells you that she is 84 and Uncle Em is 81 and they’ve had a difficult winter and that the highlights of their day are when the mail arrives at 1:30 p.m. and the newspaper arrives at 4:30 p.m.
And you realize that these notecards that your great aunt has been sending to you for forty years–give or take a few months–will one day stop arriving.
And the crocuses you planted are pushing through the wet dirt already.
Not a single moment stops, ever. Life is a rushing river, never ever a stagnant pond. Grab the babies and kiss them while you can. And, by all means, take a few moments and send dear Aunt Nellie a letter and make her day.