Time and The Last Day of Summer

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Summer officially ends today.

Here in NYC the day has been very warm and humid….and gloriously sunny.
My youngest daughter has lazed around all day savoring every last second of Summer’s slowness, before school begins for her in two days.
I got to saunter along the Hudson River walk path watching the sun glisten and bounce on the water, while an ardent suitor sauntered next to me doing his best to enchant me.

A blog follower of mine reached out to me this week and said: “Hey Melanie, what’s up with your last blog? The Summer’s almost over and your blog about Spring just arrived in my email. What’s up with that?!! I was wondering if there was some glitch with my email. And if it wasn’t a glitch in my email, this blog is kinda late, don’t you think?!”
No glitch. My blog about Spring, written in Spring, was in fact posted on my eldest’s 32nd birthday this past Thursday, September 3rd.

When each of us is born, we are born without any Time; we are born without an awareness of time as we later learn about “time.”
It might be said that each of us is born knowing only Eternity.
This knowing only Eternity is no small thing.
For a young baby in the midst of distress, alone in their crib, crying out in this distress, there is no sense for this baby that there is a beginning and an end to their distress.
Learning that there can be a time line: a beginning, a middle, and an end to whatever we are experiencing is a process.
This process of learning that there is a linear time line: a beginning, a middle, and an end is one of the many things that parents and caretakers of all kinds (teachers, nannies, social workers, nurses, physicians) are tasked to carry out with babies and children.
It is a process that can determine how we live out our entire lives; all of our interactions.

This “timelessness” that we all come in with, is also one of the most arduous aspects of new babies for parents!
We are up all hours of the night often, because our newborns have no idea that this time is for sleeping. Partially this has to do with the size of their stomachs and their very new digestive systems. This demands frequent feedings.
Slowly introducing regularity and schedules is ultimately a key factor in establishing the reliability that is the bedrock of development for young humans.

And this is another aspect of the Timelessness that we all come in with.
Young humans have an organic sense of what they need and when.
Discerning what our baby needs, is called “attunement.”
Attunement is a kind of art form that can need a lot of support to develop; or, it can happen more easily. Attunement can happen when we are able to simply move with our baby’s cues of what helps right now in this moment.

Schedules are an essential part of giving us the sense of security that comes from reliability.
Our daily lives are typically bound by our schedules.
Yet in the earliest days, being with our newborns usually requires that we let go of what we know as our “normal schedules.” This can be daunting.
Even when we are passed the earliest months, often being with our babies means that our normal daily schedules are thrown into unexpected chaos due to the Unexpected: illness: the baby’s, ours, our caregiver’s, child care arrangements fall through, other member’s of the family fall sick, school responsibilities for our other children…..many variations of the Unexpected.
When we have the luxury (which can be rare) of simply going with the Unexpected, and meeting the needs of the moment, both our babies and we experience a sense of relaxation and connection.

Shortly after I wrote my last blog, I had an unexpected health crisis.
The crisis was acute in the moment; insignificant ultimately.
This was totally unexpected and utterly unusual for me, a person who has generally been blessed by robust health.
My recovery took much longer than I’d expected. This experience of “taking much longer,” made me pause; forced me to become in synch with the season of Summer.
In the Northern Hemisphere, Summer is often hot; encouraging a slow down.
I made the decision to let go of the requisites of my typical schedule as much as I could.
I eased into “timelessness” whenever I could.
Hence, a blog written in Spring, talking about Spring, published at the end of Summer.

When we can give ourselves the experiences of reconnecting with the “timelessness” with which we were born, life eases.
Too often and too little, we allow ourselves to know this ease only when we are on “vacation” time.
When we invite and welcome a baby into our life, we are saying yes to remembering our “essential Timelessness” more regularly.

Today is the last day of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere.
If we can let go of: beginning, middle, and end…..well then: Summer is here, Spring is here, Fall and Winter are here.


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