When they were much smaller - just one and three
years old - these boys of mine would roll over in our big family
bed, throw back the covers and greet me out of sound sleep with
either a hearty "Good morning!" or a face full of baby
On weekends, I'd smile at their cute little faces,
wipe the sleep from my eyes . . . then promptly poke my husband,
begging him to take the little ones downstairs so I could catch a
bit more sleep. "Just five more minutes," I'd whisper.
As soon as our crew was downstairs, I'd immediately
fall back into that kind of dead sleep that moms of babies and
toddlers know as the time warp; it feels like five minutes but it's
really been two hours. Where did that time go, and why don't I feel
any richer for it?
Throughout their youngest years, I found myself
often vying for just five more minutes - to cook, to clean, to
shower, to relax, to chat with a friend, to write - before their
chubby little legs would bring them running to me for a drink
refill or help finding a toy or, during those blissful mommy
moments, a hug and a kiss. Those brief, fleeting moments of time I
had to myself were much like that other kind of time warp we
mothers face where there is never enough time no matter how many
hours there are in the day.
The feeling of being sucked into a time warp
doesn't change, though the specifics do as kids grow older and we
grow into our mother-skins.
My youngest turned four a few weeks ago, and almost
overnight he went from toddler to preschooler, leaving me feeling
like I'd went to sleep in one era only to wake and find myself
living in this brave new world of bigger kids - without any babies
in my arms or toddlers constantly at my feet.
I've been wondering where all of those five minutes
I'd stolen for myself over the years had gone. How could they have
possibly turned into four years since I'd birthed my second baby
and six since I labored to meet our first. I've been mourning how
the past six years have felt like the shortest five minutes ever.
I've been longing for just five more minutes of tiny fingers and
toes, early morning wake up calls to grinning chubby cheeks and
pudgy hands grasping my own.
As my four-year-old has been venturing into his
childhood and finding his (rather big) voice and (even bigger)
opinion, he's picked up on the very expression I've mumbled in my
head during these long yet short six years of motherhood: "Just
five more minutes, mom."
He'll say these words as I'm trying to help him get
his shoes on or get him and his big brother ready for bed or usher
him out of the house on time. It's always when the clock is ticking
and we can't delay without throwing off what little schedule we
I'm often tempted to rush him through the process,
follow the numbers on the clock rather than the overwhelming urge
of my beating heart to linger longer in this now, in this
What could five more minutes of reading or playing
or snuggling at night really give them? The answer seems simple:
not much of anything.
But then I stop and think about the complexity of
these time warps. I remember that just five more minutes can mean
everything to the heart when it's trying to soak up just a little
So these days we often spend five more minutes
doing whatever it is that fills the heart, whatever it is that
makes time feel a little less warped.
A journalist by nature and profession, Hyacynth has been on special assignment from the great editor and chief covering the foreign land of motherhood alongside her brave husband for six years.
See more of Hyacynth's stories here.
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