Archived Story

Not on my watch!

Published 11:00pm Friday, April 26, 2013

The roar of the Youghiogheny River was so loud that my 13-year-old son didn’t hear his daddy calling to him. At least, he didn’t let on that he heard.

He just kept sitting on a huge boulder in the middle of the churning waters, gazing off into the distance, either deep in thought or in awe of the beauty of the place.

The slippery, rock path out to him was a little too treacherous for his dad, so he gave up.

I breathed a sign of relief.

See. I had learned in my days of young motherhood that there are times that should be left to linger. Times that are so special that we don’t need to disturb them.

The lesson was not easily learned.

It seemed that we were always in a rush to get from where we were to somewhere else. I had to learn to live in the moment because those moments were precious. They would never be again.

There might never be another time when my children were content to let minnows nibble at their toes, climb to the tallest reaches of a tree, chase butterflies or make mud pies.

Those were special times. Other things could wait.

Not living our lives on the clock was a lesson that I learned well, too well.

I began to run on my own time, which usually made me run late, according to the time of the rest of the world.

Anyone who knows me knows that.

“You’ll be late for your own funeral,” everyone tells me.

Not to disappoint anyone, I’ve told several of my friends that if I go before they do, ride me around the block on the hearse a couple of times to make sure I arrive late for my own funeral. That should be good for a laugh.

Daddy once asked me, a young mother of three, what I wanted for my birthday.

“Daddy, I think that I’d like a Timex watch.”

“When has it ever mattered to you what time it is?” Daddy asked.

I didn’t get the Timex watch. Daddy knew I didn’t need it.

And, I don’t need it now.

I stand on the wisdom of Kathryn Tucker Windham.

Once when I lamented on being late to pick her up for a storytelling event, she said, “Don’t apologize.”

The legendary storyteller said that she had always been punctual, to a fault.

“I was not just on time,” she said. “I was always early.”

She ended with music to my ears, “I’ve wasted a lot of time being early. Don’t do that.”

I haven’t.

 

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