Today I am lost.
My keys are missing.
My phone is missing.
My voice is missing. Not literally, of course; I can still yell and scream like nobody’s business, but I do not know what to say.
I am at a loss for words.
And I don’t know why. Not really, anyway. My day isn’t going poorly — aside from the fact I cannot find half of my belongings. I slept fairly well last night, ate a full meal this morning, drank an entire cup of coffee (in one sitting!) and my daughter and I have spent the morning coloring and laughing.
In her play kitchen, she is currently making me cake and chicken. Ice cream and rice.
Yet for some reason I feel stuck.
I feel lost and gutted, frustrated and annoyed, and my spunk is missing.
My sense of self is missing.
Maybe it is because that, as a parent, I am keenly aware of what I am missing. I mean, “things” are always missing: I can never locate Dolly’s shoes, my daughter’s favorite play phone, or a single matching pair of socks. I miss my body and my bed. I miss my friends and my pre-parenting identity (you know, when I had a unique name and did things outside the home) and lord knows I miss my patience. But it seems the thing I miss the most — my biggest problem, as a person and a parent — is with time, i.e. I miss personal time and free time. I miss downtime and time to pee. (Alone.)
I’m always trying to make time to work and leave time to play, but I always come up short.
No matter what I do, time is something I’m constantly running out of.
I get frustrated when my “plans” get derailed by things like an unexpected injury or a daycare cold. The idea of laying in bed annoys me — even when my daughter wants to snuggle or hide from the invisible alligator which has taken over our house — and when my daughter takes 20 minutes to put ONE. DAMN. SHOE. I can’t.
I just can’t.
(What can I say: I am a type A personality.)
But being a parent has caused me to relinquish much of the so-called power I once believed I had.
The woman who was once referred to as “Cruise Director Kim” has had to drop the pen and give up her plans, and any semblance of a schedule.
The woman who once held the world in her hands has had it wrestled from her grip by sticky little fingers, and I have lost control of my time.
“My time” is now dominated by Bubble Guppies and Peppa Pig. “My time” is dominated by tea parties, puppet shows, endless trips to the bathroom, and games of Hide and Seek.
And sometimes it sucks, because I miss that version of myself: the super productive, slightly spontaneous one. The gal who used to spend hours cooking Food Network-style meals or weeks planning that perfect vacation.
I miss being able to go out every night, and sleep in every morning.
I miss the days when I was able to log onto Orbitz, book a hotel, and just go.
My husband and I would pile into the car, or head to an airport, and get away from it all.
But it’s OK. I mean, I think it’s OK. Because while I still struggle with time — with finding time, making time, and wasting time — and perpetually feel as though I’m racing the clock, I am realizing I always felt this way. Before having my daughter, things were exactly the same on that front: i.e., there was never enough.
I never had enough.
But since having my daughter, I’ve learned the value of time and the value of the invaluable; which is to say I’ve learned to cherish the time we do have, even the unproductive moments. I’ve learned to embrace the time (or lack thereof) I feel I should be working, cleaning, cooking, shopping, running, or — hell — even sleeping. I’ve learned to take in the still moments: these in-between moments. These “wasted moments.” And I’ve learned the only thing missing is me.
The only time I am truly missing out on are the minutes, and moments, I fail to make.
So now when my daughter asks me to stop working and snuggle, I make a conscious effort to pause and crawl into her bed. I make a conscious effort to take in everything from the coolness of her hand to the sweet smell her Lucky Charms breath.
Because I realize time is what I make of it.
Every minute is what I make of it.
And while I will always be thinking about what I could be doing, or should be doing, I am reframing my thinking; because there is no such thing as wasted time — just wasted opportunities. Wasted moments, and wasted memories.More On