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We have time: a busy family’s mantra

| 01 Mar 2023 | 10:27

There is a sense of urgency in the spring. Even as the days warm up and we spend long afternoons enjoying the sun and shirking things that felt really important in February. The summer is approaching and the school year is closing out its commitments, and the urgency says, We have to pack everything into this time! Or, We have to have summer figured out or we will miss out!

Maybe it’s just parents who feel this urgency. Because it felt like summers defined our childhood. Those days in class all blurred together, but summer days stretched out until they became family lore.

How do we craft the perfect summer for our kids? How can we choreograph serendipity and stage some magic? While we adults work and live our own days that maybe blur together. Maybe I am cynical after planning my children’s camp schedule with more advance notice than our family vacation. So I am reminding myself as much as anyone else who will listen.

We have time.

This is a mantra that we pass around the family. I offer it to the kids when they are rushing through something fun, and my husband offers it to me when I am panicking over a last minute change of plans. We offer it back to him when he is trying to make everyone happy all at the same time.

I am also the person who tells the kids to put on their shoes 27 times or we are going to be late to gymnastics, so it’s only fair to balance that with reminders that not every moment is a rush. Because I can forget that, too.

Because it doesn’t feel like we have time when I look at the calendar, but when I snuggle on the couch I really want to believe it. And even if there are limits on our time, I want to sink into those parts when we have space to linger and savor: the spontaneous picnic dinners, the slow weekend mornings when we all end up in one bed talking about spite houses or Minecraft or Mayan pyramids.

We have time. That simple phrase takes the pressure down so many notches. We have time to find a solution, to start over, to come back to this later, to work at a comfortable pace. And we have time to do the things that make us happy, because what else are we going to do for this next hour? There are enough times that we are on the clock, and life is finite, so I want to embrace the moments that are completely ours. Because we have time.