The Passage of Time

Today has been a good day (so far). Ella woke me up as usual, right at 7:00, by flushing the toilet in my bathroom. I don’t know why she’s suddenly decided that her bathroom is off-limits for pottying in the early morn, but I’m hoping she’ll break the habit once Rachel comes back.

Of course, the thought has occurred to me that she’s had this habit for a while now, and I’ve previously either slept right through it or sub-consciously decided to let Rachel handle it. Either way, the thought of my daughter habitually creeping into my room to pee while I slumber is creeping me out; it makes me wonder who else might be peeing in my house without my knowledge. Stevie Wonder? Dick Cheney? Special Agent Oso?

It boggles the mind.

Speaking of boggled minds, if this post ends up being really, REALLY bizarre, well – that’s what crazy tends to produce. And right now, I’m five shades of crazy, bordering on ludicrous (I had to really think about how to spell that last word there; my fingers wanted to type out “Ludacris”).

Anyway.

I was going to write about the passage of time and the theory of relativity, how one’s experience of time does not necessarily correlate to the actual movement of time. I was going to get all philosophical and sound smart and stuff, but my brain vomited into my nose and I just don’t have it in me to get all scholarly. Sorry. I know some of you Tech grads were hoping for a good laugh as a UGA grad tried his hand at physics, but we’ll have to get our laughs the old fashioned way: poop jokes and self-deprecation.

As I started out mentioning, today has been a relatively good day. After Ella flushed me out of bed, I was able to get both kids fed, dressed, medicated and happy with 15 minutes to spare. This is where the time thing kicked in: for most of the week (ok, all of this week) I have felt like a man with his hair on fire – running, running, running with no relief in sight. Every minute seems to press against the next one and my head has steadily grown more and more compressed with the various duties I’ve been trying to juggle. I have realized that part of the benefit of marriage is having someone to split the insanity with; fifteen minutes can actually feel like fifteen minutes when someone else is there to absorb part of the chaos.

Not so when you are alone. The chaos, even as sweet tempered as my kids’ brand of chaos is, belongs solely to you. The result? Time moves by wicked fast, where you barely get one thing completed before the next thing has finished and each successive duty or appointment only serves to drive the nail deeper, to pound on your head like a mallet until you finally disappear into the insanity.

That’s what made me notice the fifteen minutes this morning. I stopped and realized, for the first time since Rachel had left, that I didn’t have anything immediately pressing on me. Sure, we had to hustle out the door and on to school, but I didn’t HAVE to do that for another fifteen minutes. This is where my experience of time expanded, suddenly, like the guy who finally gets his fill at the China King all-you-can-eat buffet. Each second seemed bloated, like bread left to proof. I felt curious, as my brain screamed at me something needed to be done but my body felt free of all weight. It was delightful.

It lasted maybe 35, 40 seconds total, but that brief time of freedom from the clock was like a full night’s sleep or a restful swing in a shaded hammock. It made me think of heaven, and how eternity might not be as boring as we think (for those who believe heaven will be nothing but a non-stop sing-a-long of “Jesus Loves Me”).

The opposite end of the spectrum has been my experience with Jon’s diapers. I don’t know if I just don’t pay attention when Rachel’s around or if her absence somehow shrinks his bladder, but my goodness – that boy pees a LOT. It seems like every five minutes I’m having to change a diaper, which – praise the Lord – have mostly been pee-pees. The boy has a very healthy and functioning bladder, let me tell you. But pee-pee diapers, though abundant, aren’t funny. The solid laughs are in the poopies, and honestly he’s only hung one or two on me.

They’ve not been bad in and of themselves, certainly no worse than any other toddler deposits, but its the theory of relativity all over again when I’m trying to change him.

Let me say this delicately: the boy has quick hands. I don’t. So each exchange has been an exercise in horror as I try to clean before he can get himself into his mess. It doesn’t help that the baby wipe people know that there are frustrated fathers out there in a hurry to clean their kid, yet they still choose to manufacture wipes that take TWO hands to remove from the box. I literally have flung baby wipes up onto the wall in an effort to break one free before Jonathan escalates the situation. Ella walked in on the last service check and asked, “Daddy, why are you throwing baby wipes everywhere?”

Thus far, I’ve intercepted him about .1483 picoseconds before he scars us both for life. If I cut it any closer, I’d be sponsored by Gillette. I sincerely feel as though I’m moving like Superman – a blinding blur of blue light – and yet my eyes are telling me that I’m moving more like Miss Daisy. I know my days are numbered, and when it comes due, I’m positive things will switch suddenly and a moment that was moving too fast for me will suddenly decelerate into an eternity of horror. It will simply be a matter of perspective.

And after this long without my wife, brother – I’ve got perspective in spades.

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