We are nearly one-twelfth of the way to Christmas! Hope you're making a list of what to get your loved ones.
Time marches on. Not in a goosesteppy way. Nor in an award-winning, knee-lifting, toe-pointing, marching band kind of way. More like kids playing army, chanting, "Hup, twop, threep, fourp!" In an ungraceful, stomping kind of gait. Time.
Last week, we passed our one-hundredth day of school. Meaning only seventy-four left. Teachers do that, you know. Wish their lives away. Counting down to the last day every year, like they can only live fully during their summer break. Still, it's a better deal than regular working people get. I found that out during my five years of employment with the state of Missouri, handling unemployment claims. The trade-off, though, was that from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m., I did not think about work. It was my own time. No homework. No worries. No planning. Quite liberating, actually. No stress. I could go to the store and not be recognized. I didn't have to live up to some antiquated saintly standard. But the lure of time, time stretching out lazily across June, July, and half of August, drew me back to teaching. That, and the elimination of my job, due to the advent of telephone claim-filing.
Time is a warn piece of Turkish Taffy when you're a kid, stretching on and on. Christmas takes forever to roll around again. Summer vacation is endless. One day you're running through the sprinkler while your grandpa waters the young trees surrounded by tiny metal fences, and the next day you're getting up early, watching The Lone Ranger and Fury, and walking a mile to school with your neighborhood friends. And that's okay. It was time. You didn't even see the new school year looming on the horizon. One day it's still summer, and the next day it's school. No dreading. For everything there is a season.
College rolls on for four years. Or more. It's limbo before starting your real life. Then things speed up. Marriage. Kids. Hopefully in that order. Life is what happens when you're making plans, as Sheryl Crow says. And before you know it, those kids are nearly ready to graduate. Try as you might, you can't put the brakes on now.
And once the kids are out on their own, time slows down again. Days stretch out. Blending one into the next. Time.