Royal Moment

Dear J-

Every so often I have occasion to flash back to the video of the mom dragging her kid out to the parking lot to administer a spanking, something that shocked the nation at the time (how could you do that in public, right?) but something that in retrospect seems almost tame compared to the other categories of folks-behaving-badly, sometimes on television, no less. I’m nearly at the point where if I have to do any kind of shopping it becomes a lot easier if figgy’s not around — the natural curiosity spells certain disaster for all fragile items, and we can’t convince her to move on to certain parts of the store if, say, every last bead and bauble has been untouched. And then there’s the running away in parking lots, the stubborn, protracted tantrums that every two year old is allowed to throw and it ends up being unpleasant for everyone.

Let’s say that I understand; I may even sympathize, but that video is not an example I’d follow, no matter how on-edge I become. Yet the lack of sleep leads to less patience; I find myself more willing to drag her around and less satisfied with the time we do have together. And it is precious little time, to be honest; the highlight of my day should not be the time spent alone in the car, or while she’s asleep, thoughts turning to how I could spend time on things I want to do. I keep returning to time because it’s all I spend lately; all I have to give and to ration it out in miserable little chunks begrudgingly doesn’t suit me.

The truth is out there, so they say, and we are — or should be, says I — judged on how we’ve spent our lives. Conventional notions of sin are rigidly absolute, but what measure can we use to understand how we’ve treated the ones we love? It’s in how fast the time flies by; it’s in every minute spent not looking at your watch and sighing about how late you are for nothing in particular. If walking in to work at 2 PM on a Saturday means that you’ve done something wrong, then worrying about getting there on time means that you’ve become something wrong as well. Whether it’s too fatalistic or not (can you cheat death, or was it just meant to be?) if you perceive the finite amount of time we all have and we realize we’re responsible for our own attitudes, then the choice becomes clear: everything is important, and you live like royalty, convinced that this moment has just as much potential as your finest.



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