WHEN our two boys were babies, my life revolved around sleep.
Getting 40 winks among the daily grind of work, nappies and baby vomit, was the stuff of dreams. Sleep became my drug of choice.
Like all good addicts, there was nothing I wouldn’t do for fix.
I’d have robbed my granny for a snort of snooze.
Now that they’re older, my two boys are no longer stealing my sleep, they are eating my time. They devour it like it’s made of chocolate.
Time is not elastic, it’s a chocolate-coated Krispy Kreme doughnut. In my case it’s a doughnut under a large neon sign with the words “Eat Me” blinking on and off.
In case they miss it, there’s also a large yellow arrow pointing out where the Time Doughnut, as Professor Stephen Hawking will undoubtedly call it, is situated. There was a window in my life where my Time Doughnut was gargantuan.
The window opened when the youngest of our two kids learned how to wipe his own backside.
Suddenly, my life was no longer dictated by the bowel movements of my children.
I was able to stare up at my Time Doughnut and contemplate savouring every mouthful over the next few decades.
Unfortunately, learning to wipe their own backsides was not the epiphany moment I’d hoped for. There is no Bum Wipe Moment.
I thought there was. I should have guessed it didn’t exist. It explained the blank looks whenever I brought it up in conversation. “Have your had the Bum Wipe Moment?” I’d ask.
Blank looks, or screwed up faces if they were eating. Food on fork, hovering near the mouth, but never passing the lips. Children move seamlessly from the bum wipe to the after-school clubs. Football, swimming, Tae-Kwondo, more football, cubs, football, cricket, football and football.
All the time, gorging on my Time Doughnut.
It goes some way to explaining how time is now no longer obeying the laws of physics.
Now I’m 47, the months go by at the speed of what when I was 27 would be considered weeks.
When I was seven, a week lasted about a month. Summer holidays when you’re a kid seemed to last an eternity.
Today they’re over in the blink of an eye. I mention this because some time ago I was asked to speak at a group called the University of the Third Age in Seaham.
A lovely old lady, called Jean, rang me up and asked if I could go to their group and talk about newspapers.
“Would a Thursday be okay?” she asked.
“Thursday would be fine,” I said.
“In September,” she said.
“Oh, I thought you meant next week, not in six months time.”
“No,” she said, “In September next year,” she said.
I’d been booked to speak 18 months in advance! What lunacy. Eighteen months! I’d have moved on, got a new job, be living the high life in some sunny foreign climes, forging out a new career in …
Thought that call was 18 months ago, I gave that talk yesterday. I swear that 18 months passed in the equivalent of six in old money.
I blame the kids, they’re on that doughnut like a plague of locusts. It’s more of a Time Polo at the moment.
Jean, of course, being of advancing years, knew the truth of time. She knew those months would pass like weeks. The older you get, the quicker time passes.
I guess the secret is to savour every morsel of that Time Doughnut.
For the younger ones reading this article I apologise for eating up so much of your time.
For the older ones, no need to apologise – this article would have been over in a split second.
I would, however, just like to let you know that on Monday, there will be 99 days until December 25. Merry Christmas.