Time seems to be my unwelcome companion, jogging at my side, taking two steps to my one. Time is mean, taking and never giving. It shrinks the days, weeks and hours of daylight and hands me no end of despair and frustration when I realise I have so much to do and not enough hours to do it, watch it, work it, read it. It makes my kids grow up fast and my wrinkles deepen faster. The more time I need, the less I get.
So it feels at the moment.
This time of year should have been a month of the usual domestic routine plodding; my husband and I working our respective schedules, the kids at school with their usual post-school schedules, with the modest excitement of a ninth birthday party and a couple of medical appointments. Into that is the background hum of finalising houseplans and planning for some minor dental surgery in the next month for our soon-to-be 9 year old.
Drop into this an infectious disease like whooping cough.
Whooping cough has been mean as well, not just because it causes our son to turn red then blue then vomit from the strain of coughing, but because his birthday party is now postponed indefinitely, he is quarantined from school, and he also possibly can't go to school on his actual birthday to share cupcakes with his friends.
It's even tougher because he battles enough everyday with cerebral palsy. Adding whooping cough is just cruel.
This week our family plans have had to adjust. Less earning days this week. Moving appointments to make way for other appointments. Making sure our son is recovering, albeit slowly.
The imposition of whooping cough barges into the usual calendar chaos. The calendar must accommodate, despite the greedy demands of illness. Cars still need servicing, our other child still needs to get to school and afterschool activities, meals need to be cooked, cuddles given, rubbish put out, dogs fed, school uniforms found, work commitments met. Our daughter even found time to lose two baby teeth today which means the toothfairy needed to find change to sneak into her room while she slept.
The next month will require rapid adjustment to a new, slightly breathless version of our family's normal. We'll still make the long visits to medical appointments. We'll hopefully squeeze in a Star Wars party. We'll get through the dental surgery that my husband and I are a little scared of but my son is okay with because of the paydirt which the toothfairy promised.
At the heart of my anxiety with time is my great desire to be organised and the uncomfortable reality that I'm not. Time management is rarely within my grasp, yet I know the theory of it quite well (I tend to waste a fair bit of time reading how others achieve it, just in case I should ever have it within my disposal). So I find myself lying in bed at night, thinking about everything I haven't done that day and the enormity of what needs to be done the next, wishing for just an extra hour in each day to get me over the line.
Yet it often seems that when we can't possibly find anymore time.....we just do. We somehow make it happen. Some things have to give a little. A friend helps out with one thing. A grandparent with another. The beds don't get made this week. I get behind on the washing and the dogs don't get the pats they should. But it does, somehow, in a barely patched, almost defying-gravity kind of way, hang together. I may have given up scheduled mealtimes, personal hygiene and sleep, but with luck and the sheer will to put one foot in front of the other, we will get there. We will get through this.
And I can't wait.