When I was a kid I wanted to grow up so fast, I counted the days until my birthday, the inches I would grow, and the battles that signified independence. The wait always felt eternal, I wanted it to go by so incredibly fast and time just never seemed to cooperate. The only exception was when things would suddenly go bad. Like when my brother and I were sleeping at 4:30 am on the floor (because we had no beds) and another moment we were trapped inside a single dark and destroyed apartment on the 4th floor of a run down Los Angeles building after the infamous 1994 Northridge Earthquake.
I remember it happening so fast, I was only 8 years old and terrified, in the blink of an eye our tiny apartment seemed to have flipped upside down and the entire building had been vacated without anyone hearing our cries and my mother’s desperate calls for help. In an instant, I don’t even remember standing up but there we were pounding on the door while holding on to our mother. Then, time slowed down again. It was dragged out, I am sure it was only a few minutes but I felt like I got sleepy, tired and hungry, afraid and hopeless all in those incredibly long minutes. Then a man opened the door and time sped up, we were outside on the sidewalk walking to who knows where with no shoes or pants (We wore oversized shirts our dad left behind when he left us as he often did). My mother held both our hands and nothing else and just seemed to continue walking. I don’t remember the rest except that in those few minutes we were left homeless with nothing to call our own. A family member let us stay with her for a little while, we had to change schools, we had to find new clothes, shoes, friends, things to call our own all over again, and it was awful.
Time is a funny thing, because then I forgot about growing up, it seems that in that instant I had suddenly matured at 8 years old and did whatever my mother asked of me to help, whether it was washing dishes, washing clothes, getting us dressed for school etc. Time forgot about my childhood all together and I got that one thing I wanted most, adulthood in the blink of an eye. The funny thing about time is you can’t go back.
Now I am a mother, time seems to quickly be passing me by and I am constantly catching my breath trying to keep up. My two boys are growing up way too fast and I just want to keep them little and innocent as long as possible. I am leaving the military in just 6 months and I don’t have time to learn everything there is to know about life and resumes and job interviews. I am trying to keep up desperately hoping time doesn’t leave me behind in the dust, hoping that I can keep up and that I won’t miss a beat. I can’t go back in time, I can’t slow time down, all I can do is make the most of it, ensure my children enjoy theirs, and pray that it won’t run out.