God doesn’t like being rushed. I haven’t discussed this with the Almighty, but I’m certain of it. Why? Two reasons. First, because no one likes being rushed; have you ever seen that brief flicker of annoyance on a wait-person’s face when you express dismay, even politely soft-pedaled dismay, that your plate of kimchi has taken 38 minutes to arrive (and counting)? I’ll bet you have, even if you’ve never eaten kimchi.
The second reason I’m certain that God doesn’t like to be rushed: because nothing worthwhile in my life has ever happened overnight. If God were in a hurry, I would have been pregnant for 48 hours per baby, not a whole nine months, which I’m here to tell you IS A VERY LONG TIME, especially when you’re so freakin’ huge that total freakin’ strangers come up and ask about your triplets, then laugh uncomfortably when you swear up and down it’s only one freakin’ baby (no really ha ha ha ha ha no way how many babies is it really ha ha ha) . I couldn’t even see my feet after the eighth month. No. Seriously. It’s worth repeating: I couldn’t see my feet.
One of the more fascinating aspects to getting older is my new relationship with time. I’m just as impatient with life, just as flummoxed by God’s propensity for lolly-gagging, just as hungry for good things to happen Now Right Away Last Week Stat Chop-Chop Toot-Sweet Snap To It. But I’m also profoundly more aware that I don’t have as much of it left in the bottom of the corn flakes box as I did a decade or two ago, and I’m determined — at least, in the infinitesimally small portion of my left cerebral hemisphere that dictates rational thought — to savor every bite.
I wish I’d savored every other one more. All of those spoonfuls I choked back in a hurry; why didn’t I slow down, chew 20 times, swish the feel and flavor around my mouth a little longer? I think about my children. Everyone’s children. When they’re born, people tell you: “Enjoy it! They grow up so fast.” But of course you’re too sleep-deprived, and too absorbed in the blitzed-out ecstasy of new parenthood, to hear (much less believe) anything anyone tells you. And when your kids are babies, it’s impossible to believe they’ll ever grow up and talk back and run out the door and away into their own lives.
My youngest is about to start high school. My middle child is about to start college. My oldest is about to spend a semester abroad. If I close my eyes and venture back a day or two — not my days, but God’s — I can hear their little voices chirruping in the bathtub, I can see their little diapered bums waddling across the floor. If I venture back another day or two, I can feel them kicking and socking my ribs; I can put my hand on my taut enormous belly and feel the rise of an elbow or a heel as it dents my stomach wall and leaves, I’m sure of it, a footprint.
I shouldn’t have been in a hurry then. I’m glad God wasn’t.