Time, for Now

by Abby on May 27, 2011

Watching trucksThe midday sun warms our backs as we squat down and peer into the mulch. The drone of a lawnmower drifts over on the breeze from a nearby yard, along with the scent of peonies. A busy family of roly-polies (or Armadillidiidae, if you prefer) bustles around in the dirt, seemingly going nowhere and doing nothing much. Kind of like my boys and me on this pretty spring day.

I know I complain a lot about being busy and having no time, but the truth is I DO have time. I have time to make my kids pancakes on a weekday morning if I feel like it. I have time to walk the dog or go for a run at 10:30 a.m. some days. I have time to read my snuggly toddler a stack of books after his nap. I have time to write at night after the kids are in bed. I have time to sit and watch bugs roll around in the dirt. And I am grateful for that every day.

I know a lot of people have to remind themselves to live in the moment, to stop and smell the flowers, to appreciate what’s right in front of them. Though I certainly have lapses, I think I do a pretty good job of that.

In part, it’s because years ago I chose to leave a corporate job and work for myself as a freelance writer. All those years of sitting for hours and hours in a fluorescent-lit, windowless cubicle are burned into my brain. Those years the weather report was completely irrelevant because the only time I was outside was when I walked to or from my car. I once wrote a short story (my one and only short story) about the time a bird got trapped in my office building. That little sign of nature was so incongruous in that hushed, man-made, steel and glass setting.

I’m not going to talk about how great it is to work at home in my pajamas and schedule hair appointments in the middle of the day. Because like anything, it’s got its pros and cons. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss having paid sick days, a 401k, or a salary, for that matter. But for me, giving that up was a conscious choice. Not an easy one, not one I might not reconsider at a future point in my life, but a choice nonetheless. The decision that – to me, right now – time is more important than money.

It’s hard not to live in the moment when your days are largely dictated by 2 short people who are relatively new to the world. For them, everything from a fire hydrant to a garden hose to a roly-poly is fascinating. We’ve spent hours digging in the sandbox, building teepees out of sticks, and watching birds flit from branch to branch. The day a guy came to cut down a dead tree in the neighbor’s yard was – well, let’s just say the royal wedding had nothing on a guy with a chainsaw dangling from his belt, according to my boys.

Time is precious. Time is fleeting. Time is something to pay attention to, to sacrifice for, to savor. And I do.

TUNE O’ THE DAY: Ani DiFranco’s “You Had Time” is sad, but I love it. (BTW, did anyone notice Gwyneth Paltrow’s line during a recent episode of Glee when she said, “I went to an all-girl’s college… I still feel a little tingle when I hear Ani DiFranco.” Made this Vassar grad laugh!)

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Melinda May 27, 2011 at 3:38 pm

What you said is really inspiring! I am pregnant with my second child and I haven’t decided if I am going to return to work after he is born. I would love to take time off and develop a closer relationship with my 5 yr old and new born. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

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Abby May 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Thanks & good luck making your decision. Remember it’s not an all-or-nothing choice, either. I know plenty of moms — most, in fact — who aren’t completely SAHMs or work f.t. outside the house. There’s lots of in-between scenarios.

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Michael @ adaddyblog.com May 27, 2011 at 6:50 pm

This is my first visit to your blog; you didn’t even require a shamelessly needy twitter plea to get me here. When I began to read I found myself thinking, “She must be a writer?” And of course upon further investigation I confirmed the aforementioned assumption. I’m your newest follower. Don’t let me down.

~Michael

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Abby May 27, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Welcome, Michael! Thanks for stopping by. That’s a lot of pressure! 😉

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d. bianchi May 27, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I hold precious the days that I was able to do this with my two older children (when they were toddlers). Those were some of the best days. I am hoping one day to be able to do this again with my youngest before she gets too old and rather be with her friends ;).

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Lou Mello May 27, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Wonderful post today, time is the most important thing we have to give to our family and friends. You really nailed the emotions of how precious time is today, awesome blog going into a special weekend.

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Abby May 30, 2011 at 11:24 am

Thanks, Lou! I really appreciate that. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Maarit May 27, 2011 at 9:15 pm

First, that song always makes me cry. Well, like 80% of the time.

Secondly, YES. I just started freelancing myself and my life is way more full, even if my income dropped by about 3/4. Loving it 🙂

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Kim May 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Daily reminders help me, too! When I find myself wishing for my time to write, to go for a walk, to be alone, but it doesn’t happen I remind myself that my time with my girls is our time. Then when I do get time to do something for me I try to focus on it being my time, even though I may be missing my daughters.

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Amanda May 29, 2011 at 2:37 am

Don’t you just love when time suddenly slows down like that and gives you a chance to just thoroughly appreciate. Those are the best moments. And your world away from corporate America is so inspiring.. I dream of the day when I can say the same 🙂

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Abby May 30, 2011 at 11:25 am

Maarit, Kim, Amanda, d. — thanks so much for your comments!

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Angie Mizzell May 31, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I thought about you today and this post (I read it on my phone over the weekend) as I was reading Blake a stack of board books before his nap. Today is an “outing free” day and it was wonderful watching the boys play together in the living room as I folded laundry. Thanks for reminding me that I do have time.

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