Time Has Become a Very Different Thing


Coogee Beach at sunset

17th July 2018
Sydney, Australia

Dear T.,

The most incredible thing about parenthood (to use incredible in its intended manner: impossible to believe) is this: time becomes re-arranged.

Months of creation dwindle down into days and hours of the most physical work: to bring-into-being.

Then, time stops. Everything freezes, becomes very soft and blurry around the edges. Some of this is the residue of pain. Some of this is sheer exhaustion. Some of this is the way the body and mind adjust when a chasm opens up and your new life blooms up out of it. Some of this is how on earth do we know who we are, when the newest human on the planet is in my arms right now.

He’s been here for almost five months, but it feels like five years and five minutes.

Putting on clothes takes hours, since there are now two of us to wake, feed, dress, get out the door (A. can dress himself, thank God). And so many obstacles are the quicksand of time: spitting up, needing to change nappies, locating lost socks, the massive game of memory recall for any one of a thousand necessary objects.

And when all of this happens in isolation from so many of my family and friends, there’s the instant-and-later replay: today he ate solids. Today he laughed. Today he had his first cold. Today, everything went wrong, and he is still the sweetest thing imaginable. Today, incredible. Time has become a very different thing.

When we agreed on his name, it was a compromise of two names we each wanted. I feel like I benefitted the most from it: the compromise is already a name I love, already a poet I love, already a heritage I love.

… holding onto each other —
for warmth, for the sense of I’m yours, the tender claim
it keeps making

… see the rosy redness of cold fingers
as they shift a little, trying to register through fold
after fold, This is my flesh feeling you you’re feeling.

— from “Opposing Forces” by Eamon Grennan

Before he arrived, I had no idea time would bend backwards. That he would enter the world and I would have already loved him for lifetimes.


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