It’s 10:43 p.m. In just over 6 hours, I need to be up and rolling for a BNI meeting that will include a 45 second commercial featuring a typewriter.
Not a word processor. Not a laptop. Not an old IBM Selectric Electric typewriter.
An actual typewriter.
So the bottom line is I should be asleep, or at least trying to get some rest before a 14 hour day of proposal writing and freelance writing gets underway. Instead I am awake in the spare bedroom that functions as a library, sitting on a futon with a pile of books at my feet, contemplating a 30 year old (at least) Rush song.
My son and I pulled the books off the shelves yesterday with the intent of sorting them by author by the end of the week. Ever the English Teacher, I thought going through the hundred (conservative estimate) books in my collection might inspire my son to read. I am paying him $10 an hour for doing this: $2 more than NJ Minimum Wage and $2 less than Massachusetts Minimum Wage.
I was advised my son needed structure and a job even during his summer break, but also the books actually need to be sorted. Kurt Vonnegut is intermingled with John Updike, who is interspersed with Joyce Carol Oates. Various unread tomes by Janet Evanovich are in a conjumble with Jodi Picoult. Meanwhile, Neil Gaiman snuggles up to Liane Moriarty, and Jim Butcher rubs shoulders with Sophie Hannah. I honestly don’t know what I’ve read and what I haven’t anymore.
Getting back to Rush.
Time Stand Still, off the Hold Your Fire album, was omnipresent the 4 years I spent, between 1987 and 1991, at what was then William Paterson College in Wayne, New Jersey. At the center of campus was a student center with an arcade. The arcade had a large CD jukebox with equally loud speakers and perennially open doors. Every time I walked through the Student Center, Time Stand Still was blaring out of the arcade. I always seemed to be hit it right at the chorus:
Time stand still
I’m not looking back
But I want to look around me now
Time stands still
See more of the people
And the places that surround me now
Time stands still
Freeze this moment
A little bit longer
Make each sensation
A little bit stronger
I listened to those lyrics with idealistic, bittersweet young adult ears. I knew college was a short interlude between being a carefree teenager and an adult with responsibilities.
My son is the age I was the first time I heard that chorus, and shortly, he’ll be leaving his father’s house and moving to an out of home placement. For the next 2 weeks, though, he is mine. For 10 years I have dreamed of spending this time with him, where once again I am just Mom, juggling work with making dinner, assigning chores, admonishing him to step away from the X-Box and get at least 5 minutes of fresh air, hanging out with him, and occasionally administering discipline. Tonight, as we were watching Dr. Who (the newest Doctor) together, it hit me, how badly I want time to stand still.
This time, that I can feel slipping away, even as I take in and treasure every moment. I could have let college slip away without notice or regret. Time with my son I cannot. I will have 2 weeks at home with my son again. I just won’t have this 2 weeks, at this particular age and stage, with Leading Man #1 again. Children grow up. Parents grow older. I never want to look back and wish I hadn’t tried to freeze, or at least fully appreciate, this moment, or any moment with my son, a little bit longer.
I want to shut down my office computer, shove these books at my feet back on the shelves, and cancel my appointments for the next 10 days. I want to see more of what surrounds me now.
Time stand still.
I won’t do any of those things. I’ll keep working. I’ll keep my appointments. We’ll continue to work on the books.
Ok, maybe I’ll prune the books a bit – at least set up a library book sale donation box. There are far too many of these that I’ve already read, and with rare exception, I don’t red the same book twice. There are too many others I want to read.
First I’ll go check on kiddo again. For the last 45 minutes I’ve been savoring the sound of his snores coming from down the hallway.
That sounds creepy, but it’s really not. It’s a mom thing.