As I begin to write this my Grammy slumbers across from me. She’s 91 years old. She’s lived a life that was rich in emotions and memories and despite the fact that her new reality is one in which her heart will now hold all her memories her mind no longer can, all she wants is more time. And all we want is more time with her. We haven’t had enough. Yes, she’s 91. But we haven’t had enough.
Last week was tough and exhausting and heartbreaking and all I wanted was for it to be over. To get to the finish line that is Friday. I needed to get to the weekend so that I could recover from my week. Yet my week, consisting of the same seven days as everyone else’s week, moved by in a painfully slow state.
Isn’t it something when you think about the concept of time and what it means to us at different moments in our lives? How in some moments all we want is for the clock to speed up as we wait in anticipation for something to be over or something to arrive? While in other moments all we want is more of it. We look at our slumbering babies, the ones we hurried off to bed in a quest for some downtime, and as we lovingly gaze at them, we wish we could just freeze time. If only we could press pause so that we might marvel at the magic of their childhoods a little longer. In different contexts we ask time for different things.
Recently I read Forever or a Day and it caused me to see time through different lenses. For a moment anyway; this morning I found myself frazzled and hurried until the world stood still as I hugged and kissed my little one goodbye at the front gate of her school. Forever or a Day beautifully captures something that we fight desperately to cling on to and other times wish away — time. Something some of us pay a great deal of attention to and others don’t but is experienced by all of us. And how precious it is.
“You cannot hold it.
You cannot give it to someone in exchange for a snack.
We’ve only got what we’ve got.”
The images alone tell a moving story but when paired with words....Forever or a Day is a reminder to cherish the moments we have with those that we love. The messy, the complicated, the beautiful, even the sad. It’s all ours. Until it isn’t. And yes, I realize that may sound far too complex for a kidlit review. But for children this book says SO much without saying too much. It’s a book we can share and then as their caretakers/service providers/educators/people who love them expand where and when necessary. This book serves as an invitation to talk about a gift we were given long before we came to realize its value. I also see it as an opportunity to extend grace to ourselves as adults. There will be moments when we are not time's biggest fan. And that’s ok. Maybe we have to remind ourselves sometimes that what feels like forever in the grand scheme of things is only but a moment. Tomorrow is a new day. But the next moment, well that’s new too. Right now, it’s pouring outside but I know a rainbow is coming. Just giving it time.
Forever or a Day by Sarah Jacoby