The time I didn’t know I had

Before my children were born, I used to stay up so late and go to so many events outside of my house. I’m an introvert, so these events were things like museum exhibitions (so quiet), art galleries (so quiet, so pretty), and film festivals (not quiet, but full of fellow nerds who didn’t want to talk to me).

I remember one year when my husband and I went to 23 films at the Auckland International Film Festival. It was just one film after another after another, for about two weeks. It was heavenly. By the end I had square eyes and never wanted to read a subtitle again. And the nights ended so late! We’d finish a film and then meet friends for dinner at 10pm. We rarely arrived home before midnight. Ah, those were the days.

These days are quite different. I haven’t been to a subtitled film in a decade. The last time I went to a museum was for a school holiday programme. I would love to go to the art gallery, but there’s no way my kids will let me stand in front of a painting for 30 minutes to take it in. Dinnertime is at 5pm (earlier if my children are hangry), and midnight usually finds me either frantically shovelling another load of clothes into the washer, looking after  a restless child, or crashed out in my bed with an overdue library book unread next to me.

Do I miss the old days? Well, I miss the time I didn’t know I had. Ignorance is bliss when you’re young and child-free. But then I look to my own mother. Her three children are grown and flown, and now she’s going to museums and art galleries, watching films (although she’s never liked subtitles), finishing library books on time, making plans with friends, and travelling to see her grandchildren. I’m trying not to be in a hurry to wish these busy days away, but to realise that someday I’ll have time (and quiet) again too. And by then, I’ll probably wish for where I’m at now.