I want my life to be like this mushroom carbonara we had last weekend. Easy. Quick. Minimal effort that produces fabulous quality and taste. Chopping the onions and mushrooms, crushing the garlic and sauteeing it together while the spaghetti boiled took around 10 minutes, and I have a 10-minute heart and life stopwatch inside that goes off whenever a problem, issue, person or my own self starts to head in the 30-minute, or God-forbid, the hour-long direction.
Why didn’t I listen to those who told me that the living of life, the sorting through of life, the fixing and mending of life takes time. The change we want, the desires we have, and the ache of lack clenches inside me. It’s a familiar feeling, one I lived with since I was a child. Whether it was not getting picked to be on the newspaper in grade six or the pain of friendship betrayals in high school, I always knew there was more, that somehow the person I was and the things I was doing was not representative of what was deep inside. I could never figure it out then; I was only maddeningly impatient with myself, loathing myself for not being where I was supposed to be because it was supposed to be happening now. Everything should come together right here right now.
Life takes time, and time gives life.
It has only been in the past weeks that this came together for me as I am slowly beginning to see the life that grows around me and the life that blooms inside of me after years of only being able to see pain, death and emptiness. Time gives life because it takes time to bring life into existence, it takes time to birth life, it takes time to create life.
I remember after Small One was born thinking about when he would start sleeping through the night. I didn’t care so much that he woke up at night, but sleeping through the night would be an achievement, my achievement, proof that I was a good parent and knew what I was doing. So he was going to sleep through the night. Early. Earlier than everyone else’s babies.
You know where this story goes. Of course he didn’t sleep through the night early, and I tried things I should not have tried to get him to sleep more because I was ignoring the laws of time and placing myself as lord over time. He needed time, and the truth is, I needed it, too. I needed those night feedings of holding him in my arms, getting to know him, understanding him, falling in love with him. I needed the time to think, to watch early sunrises, and I needed to be taken to my emotional and physical limit to realize that I would not be able to do this on my own because having a baby is an exercise in knowing you can’t do it alone.
It took time, but time brought life to us and we learned what worked for Small One, for us, for our family.
I remember battling fear and insecurity about everything from school and grades to food and cooking to make up to hair cuts to clothing to money to boys to men to university choice to what people thought of me to what people in positions of influence thought of me to having enough friends to really this list could go on for a while.
And I remember thinking I could not go on like this but my ways of trying to fix it ignored the one thing I needed for “it” to change – I needed time. It has only been in the daily living, the daily facing of daily challenges, the daily choosing to say no to the daily fear and the daily insecurity that has led to the daily covering of the daily peace and the daily freedom.
I remember when Husband and I started our marriage, and I moved into his apartment. He wasn’t a typical bachelor – the flat was cleaner then than it is now – and he had good taste in furniture and appliances, but I still wanted everything decorated now, everything needed to be thrown away, sorted, cleaned out, organized now. But Husband lives by the laws of time, he does not have an internal stopwatch that goes off when something is taking too long, and he does not do something for the sake of completing an imaginary list or schedule. He does not rush. Ever.
I didn’t kick and scream because that’s not how I do things, but every few months my internal stopwatch went off and a meltdown ensued. I cried, I whined, I complained, I got angry because nothing was changing, everything was still the same.
How much heartache could I have saved all of us if I could have just waited? Why didn’t I realize that the months of “suffering” with disorder was something that would come together with time? We needed time to see what was the best way to go about tackling our things, we needed time to know what kind of home we wanted to create, we needed time to find the right pieces of furniture and the style that is us, not the style that is me or the style that is him.
The time is right now as we slowly work our way through this home, deciding what will stay and where it will stay, brainstorming ideas for how to better organize and build our family’s possessions and dreaming of creative projects that best suit the space that we have. We are off-schedule already, parts of our flat are a mess, and it is good.
But even this, this doing that we have now, this time that I have waited impatiently for, even this is taking time, but for a change I am not whining, crying and complaining because after two years – and maybe even a lifetime – of impatience, my heart is a little wiser and knows that it will take time, it has to take time, life takes time and time brings life.
- Mushroom Carbonara (from delicious. magazine) An easy recipe for lunch or dinner. The ingredient list is simple, and it takes 10-15 minutes to cook from start to finish. I have all the ingredients between our pantry and fridge, with the mushrooms being the only thing I would normally have to plan for.