I was in my late 30s when I came up with the brilliant idea to go to law school. I worked full time through it, going to school at night, and doing my best not to fail entirely at being a wife and mother. Most of the time I did fail, but, lucky for me, I had the most supportive of husbands and an amazing mother and mother-in-law who picked up the slack with my daughters during all of my away time.
Law school was not a good time. Unlike some of my classmates, I don’t have a single fond memory of those years, but I do think I have a bit of PTSD, so at least I didn’t come away completely empty-handed.
I think I had started my third year when my mom showed up with this sign she bought me: Once Upon a Time…There Was Time.
And I burst into tears. Partly because I was miserable and prone to bouts of hysterical crying, sure, but mainly because she understood. Most days, I left the house at 7 a.m. for work, left work at 5 p.m. and went straight to class and got home from class about 10 p.m. I did this four days a week, and weekends were largely dedicated to homework. For three and a half years. Time was a distant memory.
Then the period of my life that seemed like it would never end, ended. And life resumed as if law school was just a three-and-a-half-year, torturous commercial interruption and I was finally back to my regularly scheduled program.
Well, I looked at this sign yesterday and realized, for the first time, that it has a whole new meaning now. My mom’s been gone four and a half years so clearly I was a little slow on the uptake, but I finally saw it.
Because it didn’t just mean that I was so busy that I had no time. It also meant that at one point in time – I had all the time in the world. All the time in the world to call her whenever I felt like it. To show up at her house unexpectedly. To call her to complain because my daughter was driving me nuts. To Christmas shop with her. To talk to her about everything that was wrong in the world. And everything that was right.
Once upon a time…there was time. For all of that.
Time is funny. It feels certain and never-ending right up until it does end, putting a finite point at the end of a timeline. The time that was that is no more.
So, my mom was right on both counts. Life is about more than being so busy we feel like we have no time – it’s also about making the most of the time we have even when we see no end to it. So that when it ends, we have no regrets.
Once upon a time…there was time. And what a great time it was.