The Stretch It Takes: Competing With Time
If there’s one thing that this pandemic has taught me, it’s that time looks and feels different to different people, depending on their age and their circumstances. When you’re young, Time is a sloth. It drags. You will never finish 3rd grade, you will never go to high school, you will never drive a car.
When you’re in your middle years, Time speeds up a bit. You have to get that college essay finished, you have to update your resume, you have to finish painting the baby’s nursery. But, still, Time is taking its sweet self while you’re working towards that advanced degree, interviewing for a new job, or waiting for the birth of your baby.
“That this grandchild is only a child for a moment, and the pandemic is pocketing the moments like a skilled shoplifter at the grocery store.”
When you hit about the middle ’50s and beyond, Time accelerates. Your children are packing up and moving out; your basement is filled to the brim and needs a good cleaning; you have taxes, bills, and home improvements to schedule.
And then when grandchildren come…Lord help us all. Time begins freelancing as the roadrunner. It’s out of control. At the same time you are slowing down considerably, Time is running laps around you, doubling back, and coming around again. This, I’ve concluded, is why a grandparent’s love is so intense. For an older individual, Time’s value has shot up like a good stock market investment.
A year to a grandchild seems like an eternity. To a grandparent, it is just a blip. (A very important blip, because by the time you’re our age, blips are all you’ve got). So the intensity of wanting to see your grandchildren, to hug them, to embrace every moment is not borne out of need so much as awareness. You know that Time is playing its dirty trick on you; that this grandchild is only a child for a moment, and the pandemic is pocketing the moments like a skilled shoplifter at the grocery store.
I find myself sometimes enraged that Time is winning. This pandemic has given Time a head start in a race I know will be over before I’m ready. Give me back the walks, the meet-ups at the ice cream parlor, the soccer games, and the birthday parties. I want them back now, I raise my fist and yell at Time. And yet…there Time goes, running circles around me, and around me, and around me. It’s very disorienting, and for many of us discouraging.
“While Time leaves us in the dust, Love showers us with warmth and happiness.”
We have had to stretch in a way that seems impossible. But we are strong and resilient, and (for the most part), not whiny. We have one advantage over Time. We have great love…and I believe Love beats Time every time. Love doesn’t run circles around people, it encircles people. While Time leaves us in the dust, Love showers us with warmth and happiness.
So what do we do with the abundance of love for our grands that we possess? We lovingly remove the items Time has pocketed. We forgive Time its youth and inexperience, and we take Time to the task. So much of what I’m learning about grandparenting is that I may not be able to control circumstances around me, but I can take charge of my own life, my grandparenting, and my intentions. There is a famous quote that says “time is non-refundable; use it with intention.” And so while I wish I could ask for a refund, I will do everything I can to redeem the Zoom calls, the notes I write, the FaceTime conversations, and the lucky moments when I get to see my grandchildren, even if masks and distance are required. Love wins.
As for Time? Time won’t heal the wounds it has created during this pandemic, but Love can.
© 2021 Emily Morgan
ABOUT THE AUTHOR/PODCASTER – EMILY MORGAN & HER HUSBAND, MICHAEL.
Hello, I’m Emily Morgan, and my husband, Michael, and I are now in our third season of The Grand Life Podcast – a podcast about all things grandparenting. We believed it was time for grandparents to have a stronger voice and a place to tell their stories. The Grand Life has become that place for many of you!