the days are long ...
Earlier in the week Wow was waking up under a thick layer of dried mucous that gummed together his eyelashes and sent clumped strands pointing inwards towards the left eye. The material that formed along the tiny glands of the lid line clung like rubber cement. I tried wiping the lid clear with toilet paper, then wet toilet paper, then an unscented wipe, then a wash cloth dipped in warm water, until finally, I held him down on the tile of the bathroom floor with one hand and, with the other, pinched the dried mucous between the quick of my nails and worked it down the lashes. He kicked and squirmed, but I held him until he could open his eye without the lashes getting stuck.
I can't remember which child, which eye, or even which bathroom floor, but I've done this before. Maybe two times before.
I try to be mindful of how I spend my time, and the time I spend blogging here, in this small corner of the internet, is time I do not spend with my children or my husband. But I've kept coming back because it helps me understand how time is passing - the process of family, of having parents and being parents, and of my own aging. I keep hoping to realize how it is that all these small and perfectly ordinary proceedings of our daily goings-on - like Wow's blepharitis - will soon, and perhaps suddenly, amount to a life. How that it's going to be my life, and I'll be at the end of it. That might seem morbid, but I spend a lot of time thinking about death and talking about death, and the vapor of those experiences can seep into areas of my mind where it need not be. My job hasn't made me more afraid of dying than any other healthy 33 year old with two young kids, but it has made me very aware of time. Writing has made me aware of how time, in its passing, can become memory - if it becomes anything at all.
So I record time as memory in short vignettes to remind me of who and how we were. When Wow is twenty and towering above me, will I remember what it was like to hold him down and pull crap out of his eye lashes? Even now, a couple years after starting this blog, I can read some of my earlier posts about Munch and wonder what did I think I knew about her back then? Too soon I'll probably regard my anxiety around kindergarten and summer school with the same bleary recollection.
But I want to remember it, just as it is because it's all only going to happen once. I'm getting more gray hairs. My children keep needing more pants. When my dad measured Munch on the pantry wall of the house I grew up in, she marked two inches above where I did, on the same wall, 28 years ago. Last night, when Wow came inside after playing in the yard, he smelled of grass and late spring.
.... but the years are short.
- Gretchen Rubin