I give. But with boundaries. I play. But with limits. I love. But I am not always present.
Time is something I hunger for. It is the thing most elusive to me. If I just had the time back from the dishes and the grocery shopping and the laundry, I could work on my dreams. I could aspire. I could be what I imagined.
I have spent years looking at the clock. Counting the minutes. Until. A moment. Alone.
Don't get me wrong. I smile. I laugh. I cook. I clean. I play. I am silly. I listen. I talk. But, in the hidden places in my mind, I am waiting. I am waiting for time. Alone.
This is not a sorry. This is not even a confession. It just is.
I have a husband, a man, who knows me to the core. He is in love with me anyway. I am certain of it. He stops me in the kitchen for kisses. He grabs me an hugs me when I walk by. He tells me how beautiful I am to him. And sometimes I respond. But, a lot of the time I am in a hurry. I push past him. To put the load in the wash, to pick up the penny that the baby will surely choke on, to get out the door on time.
I have four wild and unique boys. At moments, I glimpse who they will be as men, and I feel honored to be in their presence. But, they are normal boys. They get rough, they argue, the vie to be top dog. There is bickering.
I like to think I spend time with them. After all, I feed them, help them with homework, drive them to school and baseball and piano. I bathe and diaper and feed and talk to the little one. We sing songs together in the car, I laugh at their silliness, I play guitar hero.
But, I cannot tell you the last time that I spent 15 minutes alone with one of them. It doesn't happen. I have four. I read to them as a group. We play baseball as a family. We watch American Idol together. We pray together. We eat dinner together.
When I address them as a group- Boys, its time to get ready for bed! Boys, did you finish your homework? Boys, wash your hands, get in the car, stop fighting! - for days on end and spend no time one on one, am I missing something?
I think I am. I think I am missing time. That elusive thing that I can't ever get enough of in my day. It is also the thing I can't get back. I can't get back the kisses in the kitchen with my husband when I was 37 and we had four little boys still underfoot. I can't get back playing ball with a one year old who giggles each time he rolls it back to me. I can't get back laying in bed with my nine year old, reading his Bible aloud to him. I can't get back playing catch with my five year old in the front yard. I can't get back the whispers of my ten year old about the girl he likes in school.
I don't want to hurry over these moments. I don't want them to just be squeezed carelessly between everything else.
Fifteen minutes alone. What would that do for them? Would it heal hurts I don't know exist? Would they know more deeply who they are and their importance to me? Would there be less rivalry?
I don't know. But, I want to. Fifteen minutes? Even now, the thought of attempting to spend 15 minutes of one on one time with each of them daily seems impossible. How could it happen? That is a whole hour out of the day. And where will the others be when I am with the one? There is already not enough time in our day.
But, I wonder. What would it do?
And you know what? I have a husband who deserves time with me really being present too. Will the house fall apart? Maybe. But probably not.
Being a TIme Giver. Someone who is present. Not thinking of what I need to get done. Not wishing I was alone. Really present. At least fifteen minutes each. No timer set. No bell that rings.
A Time Giver- tomorrow!