Time Keeper

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Logan has been admiring my Dad’s shockproof, waterproof watch all summer long. About two weeks ago, my Dad bought Logan a youth version (which still needed to have an extra hole poked in it so it would not slide off of his tiny wrist). It is both analog and digital, has a light, alarm and stopwatch, can go in the water and is supposed to be nearly indestructible. (We’ll see.)

Of course, Logan is psyched and tells everyone who asks about it more than they ever wanted to know. Now, just days later, the Buzz Lightyear watch that I bought him last year has been long forgotten and he only takes his new watch off to shower (at my insistence so his whole arm gets cleaned, and each time I am told the definition of waterproof).

Logan’s other watch was more of an accessory, a way to look more like the grownups around him that he so badly wants to emulate, so I didn’t think anything of him getting another one. I figured it would help him practice his numbers (he sometimes reads double digits from right to left, instead of left to right) and, of course, learn how to tell time.

But there are downsides to giving a kid watch. Like, they will start to tell time. They will start to track time. To be worried about time. And once you start, there is no going back.

Gone are the days of him asking if it’s still morning or afternoon, basing his time around the meals we have eaten or our plans for the day. Gone are his questions about how long ten minutes are. (Does it feel long like watching a movie or quick, like taking a shower?)

Of course, there are also other annoying consequences of giving a kid a watch. When I tell him we can do something in five minutes, he can now time me, no longer allowing me the ability to pretend that 10-15 minutes were just a mere five. (Maybe this is why five minutes feels so long when you are a kid?)

When he is exhausted and I try to put him to bed early, he now knows it and will fight it. When he goes to bed late and has a hard time falling asleep, he will keep calling to me: “Mom, its almost 10 o’clock – that’s your bedtime! Are you getting ready?” And he swaggers into my parent’s house, his shoulders held high and back as if they are big and broad, announcing that we are 19 minutes late.

I fear gone are the moments when a weekend morning seems endless and a summer feels like forever. I specifically remember afternoons spent in the backyard of my childhood home that seemed to stretch out in front of us, like the large lawn. A day off from school seemed like an eternity. I want him to hold on to this feeling for as long as possible because I know I myself would do anything to get it back.

Of course, kids learn by example and in this case I am not the best teacher. I’ve always been a bit of a planner and went into overdrive when Logan was born. With a full-time job, a new baby, and a sick husband on various chemo treatments requiring endless doctor’s appointments, the only way to get everything done was to be on a schedule. And now, as a single, only parent, I continue to run a pretty tight ship to stay on top of everything. I try not to be a stickler but no matter what I do, the time continues to fly by, faster and faster.

Kids offer the clearest reflections of ourselves; better than any mirror or the calmest lake. Seeing Logan with his watch makes me realize I should take mine off more often.

 

 

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