I am officially declaring war on the enemy: TIME.
This is my newly sworn nemesis, mostly because the countdown just started. Me and TIME will be spending a lot of – uh, time – sparring between now and homecoming.
Despite time’s eternal presence, historical notoriety, and persistent nature, I will ultimately win.
My Dad will confirm this. He would raise his eyebrows and tell you it is not a good thing to become my target. Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lori. Remember the involuntary mascara-brush tracheotomy procedure I offered the Lancome Lady when her waterproof mascara didn’t live up to standards? There’s a similar story that pertains to two scoffing boys at a High School Debate Competition.
The declaration of war was established when I decided to make an official countdown calendar. This is the wonderful tool all of the helpful military booklets tell you to utilize in order to create a “visual” for your children who may not fully grasp what it all means. The problem is, it created a very vivid visual for me, too.
I am NOT a visual person. I cannot imagine well. I usually need to touch and hear things for them to become a reality. I used to annoy my college roommate to the point of threatened dorm excommunication by reading my world history textbook out loud (sorry, Carolyn!).
So seeing it all in print was, well, a little overwhelming. I didn’t mark down all the holidays and special events that would be missed. I mean come on. I’m at least smart enough to know that highlighting everything Husband is going to miss would be just a little too depressing for my kids to handle right now. But let’s face it, I know (most of) these dates by heart. So as I taped together calendar after calendar and hung them on the wall in a long column, I was immediately gripped by the real duration of Husband’s absence. The calendar stretched past Thanksgiving … Christmas … and Valentine’s Day. No surprises there. But as it rambled on past birthdays, including my 40th, past the wedding anniversary, and went all the way through summer, I started to panic. I looked at Preschooler’s first day of Kindergarten and sat down on the floor.
I looked up. Like the Great Wall of China, I wondered if this string of taped together calendars could be seen from outer space. It created a looming reminder of the many many days ahead of us. TIME, you bastard!
I sat there and stared at it. I immediately fantasized about jumping up and delivering an amazing Kung-Fu kick that would start at the bottom of the wall and reach super-human heights as it tore each month limb from limb, causing the paper to fly through the air and land directly in the trash can, little shards of tape and remnants of numbers crumpling helplessly to the floor.
And then I remembered my toe.
So instead I wiped away a tear, and ripped it down from the wall in one motion (with my hand), wadded it into the smallest paper ball in the history of nemesis-crushing paper wads, slammed open the trash can, and pelted the coffee rinds I saw there with the densely populated calendar orb representing my nemesis. And then I muttered as I cleaned up the floor.
My secondary response to this recently underscored dilemma was a more reasoned approach. I made a very long list of ways to fill the schedule in with activities, an effort to defeat TIME. Now I don’t mean full, that’s not the right word. Overflowing is really not strong enough, either. Let’s call it MAX ESI – events per square inch.
Even though you will soon hear me complaining about it, believe me, this life we are living is done by intentional design. It’s on purpose. We pack our weekdays with everything we can. We take advantage of every program, and I do everything I can to make the very most of every moment I can hog with my children. I will focus on self-improvement, and take the time to enjoy things I didn’t have time for when Husband was home. The fuller, the better. The more time I spend occupied, the less time I will have to think about what’s missing. Who’s missing.
Time, it’s on. May the best woman win.