Photo Credit: Courtesy Jewel
In her blog for the iVillage series CelebVillage, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Jewel, who recently released the children’s book and CD That’s What I’d Do, writes about her feelings on how fast time is passing -- and the changes she sees in her own son, 15-month-old Kase (with husband Ty Murray).
First of all, I want to thank iVillage for having me as their guest blogger, and to everyone who read along. Follow me on Twitter (@jeweljk) for more writing, see my website for great gift ideas like signed CDs (yes, I really sign them), and to sign up for my fan club, where you get rare live recordings and drawings and much more! In the meantime, enjoy this, my last installation for this site. I hope you like it!
I just returned from a trip to the West Coast. I was gone only a few days, but my son must have been on fast-forward. He managed to fit a year's worth of growing into two-and-a-half days. His face looks older, it’s hard to put a finger on just how. He now says "Boo" as he peeks from behind a cabinet, enticing me to play. He points to the correct object when asked, “Which one is bigger?”
What is it with time lately? Is it part of getting older that causes the days to collapse in on themselves, like some kind of wormhole, accelerating the quickness of days?
It's funny -- I think to myself that after all these years of wanting things to go faster, to see what was around the next corner quicker, to GROW UP, that I suddenly find myself wanting to just slow down -- but that I can't. The more I try to slow down, the quicker the days pass. Time used to crawl, and now these magical moments -- my son's proud looks as he does something that pleases him with himself, the smiles as I put him in his crib that are so kind it makes my heart hurt -- all seem to fly by with dizzying speed. Time has flipped itself inside out.
Just when I got comfortable in my own skin, just when I got my career somewhat settled, just when I said goodbye to the angst of my youth, the hour glass resets and I am left trying to defy gravity, fumbling to shove the falling sands back up into the heavenly portion of its sphere. What causes this quickening?
I take a break from writing for a second. I click the video button on the baby monitor, and a black-and-white image appears of my son as he sleeps in his crib. How time must crawl for him, I think to myself.
That’s the irony of the whole thing: I see it as if in some Matrix action movie sequence, my son and I facing one another. Behind me stands Chronos, the Greek god of time, and behind my son, Chronos’ consort, Ananke. We are laughing, my son and I, when time suddenly freezes, faces contorted in half-actualized smiles. The camera rotates around us 360 degrees, while my son and I change places. Now the god of time stands behind my son, and his wife behind me, and when the second hand begins to move again on the face of my clock, when our smiles resume to spread across our faces like the warm rays of sunlight crawling across a day, everything has changed. I have stepped into middle age, and time has sped up. For the youth of my son, time moves slowly as molasses now.
This little trip I have taken in my mind is fiction, of course, so next I turn in earnest to science for an explanation. My dim mind tries to piece together the hours spent with A Brief History of Time. Time and space are fluid, Stephen Hawking wrote, a fabric that becomes more dense around mass. That’s why gravity is greatest around larger planets, and where there is no mass, there is no gravity. Time bends itself as well, though this has always been harder for me to comprehend. I remember the graph showing a rigid grid that becomes pinched around planets.
Maybe the mass of my grown adult body has bent time and space more densely. Maybe my soul is heavier and more dense from the jagged road my life has traveled, but it occurs to me maybe there is a happier explanation. I used to be alone, a small star drifting. I grew with time, gaining dust and rock and sediment until I became an adult -- but still I drifted alone. Until one day my husband started orbiting around, and as attraction attracted, love grew. We became two small planets that orbited around the sun of our combined love. Then our darling baby came, and we were now three planets.
But the magical thing, the miraculous thing that added so much to us was the exploding of our hearts. Love! Love for a child is impossibly profound and though I am not smart enough to explain it mathematically, its effect is exponential. We became more than three. Our mass, our volume, our density, our macrocosm, our microcosm, our super string, our god-particles all tingled with meaning and fullness and that’s how time changed for me. I am greater now than myself, and so time and space has shifted for the rest of my days. It makes me cry with the beauty and the sorrow.
I am not helpless to combat this quickening, though. I don’t want these precious moments to pass too quickly, so I take mental photographs to battle the acceleration. Tonight for instance, I came home from a few days' work to see my son suddenly larger, shockingly older, too busy to sit still and let me embrace him. That would have to wait until after bath time. That’s when I get to enfold my clean baby, after having rubbed him down with coconut oil, I get to cradle my boy to my bosom as he falls asleep. Sleep; the secret loophole that I can jump inside and slow down within. And that’s the picture I snap. That’s the tableau forever frozen in the gauzy glow of his dimly lit room, etched into my memory for all time. Rocking my baby to sleep. His mouth like a cupid's bow. Cheeks flushed, rosy from the warmth of my body, eyelashes glistening darkly in the dim light. Worlds being conquered behind his eyes, not knowing in them lives all our hopes and dreams.
He won’t know until he has a child of his own.
Singer-songwriter Jewel recently released the children’s book and CD That’s What I’d Do -- click here for more information. Check out her official website, Facebook page and follow her on Twitter at @jeweljk. And click here to read more exclusive posts in the CelebVillage series.