Time Is a Gymnast, But Mom's a Gold-Medalist

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Spring forward. Fall back. It doesn't really matter. I've been monkeying around with the hands of time for so long that what's an hour here or there?

Every parent lives in this nonspecific time zone if he or she wants to survive and keep the household running. In this zone, time is a gymnast. It not only springs in April and falls in October, it flips and crawls and sometimes sneaks clean away.

"So, when can I have a couples party?" the kid asks.

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"Someday," the mother replies.

Every parent knows that "someday" is equivalent to "when Granny wears a tutu and dances on the roof." It's about 15 minutes earlier than "never."

"Later" isn't much better.

To simply start the household running each morning, a parent relies on these tricks of time.

"Up and at 'em! It's almost 6:30," the mother hollers to the young slugs at 6 a.m. (according to the "time and temperature" guy, anyway).

When the bodies lie as still as cordwood, time whirls. One minute spins into 30, and Mom shifts into her hog-calling voice.

"Seven! It's almost 7! Move it! You're going to be tardy again."

Fortunately, kids don't become clock-watchers for several years, so parents can keep time on their side. It takes most kids until "later" to realize that the lunch "hour," which lasts 13 minutes during school years, will stretch into 120 minutes for some of their co-workers out in the working world.

I've lived in the nonspecific time zone for so many moons now that I've forgotten my own age. I'm pretty sure that time is falling back in that regard, or at least is deferred, like our couch payment.

"Hey, Mom. Do you have a minute or two?" my daughter asked the other night. I was immediately suspicious.

"Why? What'd you do with all yours?" I asked her. She's always borrowing my good stuff.

She had lost track of time, she explained, and now she needed to get a paper typed pronto. And since I could type so much faster than she, would it be possible to help her out?

I sighed. "When's the paper due?"

"Last Friday."

I told her that time was flexible, but not that slippery, even in a parent's time zone. "But I'll type it after my 20-minute walk," I told her.

She looked at the clock. "It's 8 now. So, you'll be back by 8:10?"

Spring forward. Fall back. And twist and stretch a little in between.

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