This week, time and I have a complicated relationship.
Each morning since Sunday, my head’s laid heavy as stone as the radio clicks on, and I only rise long enough to look over my husband’s sleeping body to the alarm and reset it. Each day, unable to get up as early as I want, I’ve cursed daylight savings time.
I like extra light as much as the next guy, but I’m not so sure this artificial clock switching is worth it. The concept that creates many a sleepless night and cranky morning child. The concept that originated hundreds of years ago by Benjamin Franklin, in an effort to save candles (and probably avoid the fires caused by them). The forced change that increases the incidence of heart attacks and other health problems due to the stress on confused bodies.
These facts are courtesy of me (#1) and my daughter and her fifth grade class (#2 and 3) and, if I weren’t so tired I’d probably Google it, but I tend to trust my girl on these things (her memory for factoids rivals that of her father).
For an early riser like me — one who gets most of her writing done in the morning hours — a 5 o’clock wakeup suddenly becomes 4:00, and no one who is not an insomniac or catching an airplane or tending to a sick child or putting on a uniform or scrubs wakes then.
I want to fight the hands we circle forward, but it just is.
As I type this, a smoke detector chirps. The smoke detector with a ten-year battery inside — the one that’s been checked and tested a dozen times in the past few weeks and seems fine until the early morning — chirps every 30 seconds. Twice a minute.
Over and over again.
Right now, I’m certainly feeling the time.
This week, I read more of Madeleine L’Engle’s words about moments that transcend time and move beyond the chronological of our everyday — those places where time holds suspended like a man standing on water.
On Monday afternoon, I held Lala on my lap and told her the story of The Velveteen Rabbit, pulling from memory and adding my own parts about the rabbit becoming real and returning to the little boy by climbing the shrubbery and rap-tap-rapping against the boy’s window with his true thumping rabbit paws.
Lala sat motionless, turning her head to look into my eyes as I spoke of the rabbit’s new twitching nose and cotton fluff tail and of his joyful reunion with the boy he loved. I thought of the line (quoted by L’Engle) from Our Town: “Mama, just look at me one minute as though you really saw me…it goes so fast we don’t have time to look at one another…”
So here we are in that place — she and I — in this land where time stops and words float through air to rounded ears, settling in a memory with these eyes truly seeing the other.
Even now, as I write about this moment with my girl, her long lashes curved up toward my face, the smell of her hair in my nose and the long nap she took afterward, her nearly-real Lambie snuggled next to her cheek, I don’t hear the chirping of the smoke detector.
In this moment, recounting the gift outside of time, everything else stops.