Friday, July 11, 2008

Only A Matter Of Time

I've always had a thing for clock-watching. In long school lectures, in numbingly dull college jobs, in planes, trains, automobiles, and, yes, churches, I have watched the clock. I mentally slice up the the hours into segments of minutes--the clock hands cutting through tick marks like soft butter--and the minutes into manageable fractions and meaningful percentages. Only half of the way to half-way done. Only three more half-hours. Over one-third of the way there, which means the rest of it was twice as long as what remains. Only, only, only...

Byron left on a richly-deserved, long-awaited fishing trip for the weekend, so the kids are I are in this alone until Sunday, which means there are 48 big hours to be filled until he returns. My goal for the weekend (other than our collective, you know, survival) is not to focus on slicing away the hours and melting away the minutes, willing the sun down and wishing away the day. (Nor will I focus on the fact that I've had to ramp up the Strangulation Abatement Program as of late and the collective shrieks and moans and shrillness and whining have been a bit much.)

Instead, I'm going to focus on moments like these:

I snapped the following pictures the other night during the last hour before bedtime, an hour that I sometimes spend counting the minutes down breathlessly, almost frantically. On this night, though, I sat down in the middle of their bedroom and silently watched them go about their business of reading books, fiddling with toys, settling in for the night. The summer evening sun was long and a little dreamy and the mood in the room was quiet, calm, and downright peaceful. I shot the photos casually and mostly from the hip and, as a result, they are imperfect, unedited, and true.



Looking at these photos makes me feel exactly as I did then, in that room and in that moment. I'm not sure if the moment lasted five minutes or fifteen minutes or sixty minutes, but it was perfect.

Sometimes the problem with knowing the duration of a thing, I think, is all that focus on enduring.

36 comments:

Mike Golch said...

Melanie, thank you for these wonderful photos. Hugs and Blessings. that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

mdwest said...

Not that I know ANYTHING about counting down the minutes until naptime or bedtime or anything.

No, of course not.

I'm so glad you shared these photos.

And good luck with the 84, er, 48-hour mom-a-thon.

Rima said...

I wish I had your perspective. I'm such a damn whiner and my whole life is spent counting down the minutes.

Bah.

MamaBird said...

Nice bookends, babe. Like the symmetry. Two thoughts a)your Roomba's been working overtime, installing that great toy shelving while keeping every surface immaculate, and b)that old stick and a piece of string deprivation has got to stop. Have a cozy weekend breakin' all the Daddy rules....

Jennifer said...

Beautiful.

Lisa Milton said...

So beautiful. I'm ready to step into the cool green room and nap. Right now.

The minutes will pass as the always do and he'll be back soon.

I tell myself that every week, when Greg's working out of town, and sometimes that works.

Take care.

amanda said...

I needed to read this tonight. Thank you.

Magpie said...

That is one fine set of photos. I could completely feel the moment.

And I love your eye - not just in the photos, but in the stuff. The kids' rooms are wonderful.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Oh how you make me wish I had done that when I had the chance. I think this is the closest to crying a post has ever brought me.

You have given your future self something very special.

bluemountainsmary said...

These are just serene - they reflect the mood you were in.

I suppose it doesn't help that it is already Saturday night here. Perhaps you need to move to Australia!

princessofsomething said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely. I too am guilty of counting minutes and missing moments. Thank you for the reminder.

reneedesigns said...

Beautiful, just beautiful. Too often I focus on counting down the time and getting things done. Thanks for reminding me just to be.

kimmomofeight said...

I needed this beautiful post ~ thank you. I needed the words and I needed the photos.

I too too often count down the minutes until hubby returns home from his out-of-town gig. You've given me a 'snap out of it!' and made me realize that I need to start living more in the moment with my gang of eight.

Deep breath...and thank you again.

Angie said...

The one of the two of them hugging is precious. Oh, and slinky dog is my absolute favorite of the Toy Story clan.

justjuli said...

Great photos! But more importantly - a reminder to slow down, breathe, and actually enjoy life.

Sometimes we (okay, I) get too busy with the business of life - that I forget to enjoy the chance to be living.

Louise said...

This is a wonderful post. I am currently alone for 6 days (Only 2/3 left), and I needed this. Tonight was going to be like that, but not I have more energy to actually do it. Because oh yes, I count down until bedtime, too, when my husband is gone.

standing still said...

gmYou have the best, best taste. The children's rooms are lovely.

All Adither said...

Girl, you give good camera.

Jennifer H said...

These photos are beautiful. You'll never forget that night.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

The magic of still photographs. The ability to allow time travel.

Beautiful, Melanie.

Jyll said...

Nice pictures! I wish my kids room was that clean and organized! I gave up that battle after the 4th one came along! Hope the rest of your "48" hours goes quickly.

Chris said...

Gee. I thought I left a comment yesterday, but I didn't check after I hit "post". Maybe I hit "poof" and it was gone...

What I was sayin' was... The way you described how you frame time in your mind was perfectly and beautifully written. I relate to that - but I also count phone poles while driving.

The photographs are beautiful. The toys are even beautiful.

San Diego Momma said...

Good reminder. I'm an endurer, too, and I'd like to de-emphasize my simply getting through the moments, and not actually living them.

In related news, I love that room, and where did you get the globe?

Deb

Melanie said...

Thanks everyone for the moral support (and kind interior design feedback)! We made it through just fine, and actually enjoyed ourselves immensely...sprinklers, ice cream, late bedtimes.

@ Deb: I love that globe, too! It's a vintage mid-century Disney globe that belonged to my husband's uncle.

i am very mary said...

That you put them to bed when there's still all that daylight going on out there? And that you don't have to do something like put foil over their windows or, I don't know, feed them Nyquil, and that they'll sleep with all that daylight? Oh woman, I am at your mercy.

Miss Ive said...

Love this post. My husband was gone for the weekend, too. I too was clock watching. Then we found a six dollar slip-n-slide at Target. Can I just say that I DID NOT have one of those when I was little, and, oh, did I miss out. But not this weekend. Can I just say that we have officially added 'backyard' to the list of things that will need some 'attention' from my husband now that he has returned. Whoa, baby.

lapoflux said...

Hope you made it through okay. Love the sentiment - I too calculate things down to the minute. I hear you!

Sweet Pepita said...

These photos make me want a sibling for Pepita even more than before. Such sweetness!

Danielle said...

So so sweet. What a great idea.

I love taking tons of detail shots, too, and then end up wondering what I should do with them...

stephanie (bad mom) said...

You are fabulous and all you say is smart goodness.

I think Mason's room has that same green. But far more clutter...

stephanie (bad mom) said...

Frick, I meant to also tell you I have an award for you at my place today :D

Mrs. G. said...

Really, I just want to eat them-binky, feet, everything.

Jyll said...

Hey, check out my blog, I got something for ya!

Kelly said...

So sweet! The perfection and peace of the moment comes right through the pictures. I now have a very strong desire to kiss some baby feet. I may have to borrow one from somewhere.

Nora Bee said...

Seriously, we have to get our boys together for Thomas the Train adventures. Love it.

Sissie said...

Your munch-kins are edible-y cute-- but the room is entirely too tidy.
I mean, how do you keep the cookies out of the beds??!??!