Our culture knows that mothers think a lot about time. We think about when it’s time for breakfast, and lunch, and snacks, and play dates. But does our culture know that mothers also think about things like the End of Time?
To give birth is to time-travel through alternate dimensions - giving life while (hopefully) escaping death - until you arrive back into yourself in the hospital, an altogether different person in an altogether different life zone. Indeed, the haze of motherhood is such that we sometimes don’t really know what “time” it is. Peanut butter and jelly time and cartoons time and dishwashing time and laundry time and clean up time and poo poo time and bathtime all sort of start to feel the same. Initially, when breastfeeding, it really is the same. Every two hours, on and off, for months. Round the clock. As in, around the clock. Beside it. Outside of it.
In spite of it.
Right now with my toddler, it’s always Cheerios Time. Or Graham Cracker time. There really is no inappropriate time for those foods.
But beyond this limbo, mothers are actually acutely aware of what time it is. We see our children change daily, before our eyes. We also change, as women. We grow older, and want different clothes. We want different things, different hobbies. Tastes change, thoughts change. In childrearing, time is finite. We have our children “as children” until they’re eighteen. And that’s really a very limited amount of time.
So in transcending both the emotional and the logistical, what truly marks our Time?
Everyday we see the sun rise and set. A new day dawns because the sun rises. So, that is how we actually mark time.
The Atlantic has a brilliant video up about this. In it, the scientist explains, the universe is existing on a finite amount of gas that will at some point, run out. Just like our own bodies. Energy as we know it will expire, and there will truly be a final End of Time.
In the video, the scientist wonders if in the future people will sit around and talk about the fact that people like me and you got free energy from the sun back in 2017. Let’s apply that to the personal – I wonder what types of things from my present people will look back on and say, “Huh”. This mother,
She used to physically go to a grocery store?
She used to buy diapers in a store?
She drove herself and her son to daycare?
She cooked her own food?
She manually transferred money between bank accounts?
She only flew as a means of transportation, and not for fun?
She called people just to see how they’re doing?
She walked on undeveloped mountains?
She drank tap water?
She went to public school, and then a public university?
I am a mid-30s mother who works in the humanities and has a slight disdain for automation. Not just of the havoc it will wreak on our economy, but on our identities. The futuristic has always carried a very heavy, male, robotic feel to it. Sci-fi is a boys’ world.
So what of my own future? My gifts are truly human, nothing more and nothing less. I think creative, emotional thoughts. I created human life, unconsciously, from inside my belly. A vast DNA scripting that comes from the stars. What was that “spark” that created my life, that created yours? That created my son?
I call it God.
We live in the waning days of a light-filled universe. In which we knit things ourselves, and make things ourselves. As far as I know, God does not inhabit machines.
The galaxies available to us as homo sapiens are vast and are frightening. Generations are afraid of what the next generation will do because we desperately need to feel like what we’re doing is the right thing. Otherwise, what were these routines for? What do we caffeinate ourselves for? What do we wear ourselves out for?
We need to feel like our way is the right way, just like our sun is the only sun. That there is only one us, in just this one time. 7 new planets were recently discovered, but we cannot feel the light of other suns.
We can only feel our own. Our very own sun. Our very own bodies. Our very own children. Kinesthetic, and warm, and human.
We watched the solar eclipse wane, and return. Change, and re-form. Arrive in and despite of time. This life is ours, and this planet is ours: Let’s let the sunshine in.