An infant is a sort of transubstantiation - time is shockingly, miraculously made flesh, reminding us that five months (or one month, or 68 hours) is a really an eternity, and that our lives are, gloriously or terrifyingly, made up of such eternities, stacked one upon the other. For me, this reminder contains an anxious imperative, a felt command to be aware of these eternities, to be conscious of the time that passes as we live our lives. Through the baby, the days of my life scream at me to be noticed, and I, panicked as always, am doing my very best to obey.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Children change time. If I were to say to you, hey, it’s been five months since the end of December, you would be like, well, duh. But when I tell people that my baby is now five months old, they get really confused. “Has it already been that long?” they ask, bewildered. Five months are merely the blink of an adult eye, more of the same-old same-old, with seasonal changes the only marker of time passing. But in an infant, five months is everything, the distance from this (7 minutes old): or, more stunningly, this (minus 68 hours old): to this (4.5 months old):