Quantum Time

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For a parent, time is both simultaneously slow and fast depending on where you’re standing. May you find joy in these long days and peace in those short years.

As far as I can tell, quantum physics means that matter obeys different sets of contradictory laws all at the same time. Or, it means that the more accurately you measure one property of matter, the less accurately you will measure another.

Or something. I think.

In my defense, physicists can’t even agree on a working definition of quantum theory.

All that said, I may not understand quantum theory but I understand quantum time. That’s because I’m a parent.

While our kids are young, we’re exhausted. Since becoming moms and dads, we have been short on sleep and long on challenges. Most days, we feel like if we make it to the end of the day and everyone is alive, we’re going to chalk it up to a win. The kids have all eaten stuff…mostly edible stuff… and racked up some sleep here and there. So, winning. Older people tell us to savor these moments because in a few blinks they’ll be all grown up and gone. Except that we know that’s not true! We’re sure time is slow because our exhausted eyes have been open since the day our first child was born and we’ve watched time creep just faster than a standstill.

When you’re tired as dirt you don’t find it particularly helpful for people to tell you to enjoy it. While you’re celebrating milestones in bodily functions and racking years of your life driving carpools, you aren’t sure you want to savor these endless moments. People say, “They grow up so fast,” and you think, “Thank goodness because otherwise I might try to pawn them.”

Yet, one day the chairs our kids once occupied at the dinner table are all empty. The carpet under the coffee table that was once an archeological dig site revealing a primordial diet of popsicles and chicken nuggets is clean and inconsequential. The bedrooms that housed trinkets and dirty socks and sleeping children is a cleaner, but far less inviting, exercise room.  The years were indeed a blur.

So time, for a parent, is both simultaneously slow and fast depending on where you’re standing. My quantum hope for you is that you find joy in these long days and peace in those short years.

-Karis Murray

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