I read an essay written by a mom once, and it really touched me. She wrote about the struggles of parenting, and she explained that the Greek had two forms of time: chronos and kairos. Chronos time is chronological, measured-by-the-clock time. Sometimes, when we’re parenting, it’s chronos time that we struggle with…. bad days, long weeks. Kairos is….well, it’s hard to explain. It’s when time seems to stop, just for a moment, to let you breathe in your life. Kairos is not measured, it’s felt.
When you open Kate’s bedroom door in the early morning light and see her sleeping with her diapered butt stuck high in the air, her arms tucked safely underneath her chubby body, snuggled and warm in her monkey pajamas, and you remember how lucky you are to be her mom. That’s kairos.
Or when you sense a difference in Maddie – a change in her mannerisms, a shift in her speech – and it makes you catch your breath and you know she grew up just a little bit more – it’s almost like you saw it happen in just that instant – and you think how it’s all so fleeting and will be gone all too soon and you just have to stop whatever you’re doing and hug her. That’s kairos.
Or when you walk into the living room and you find Maddie reading a book to Kate and you hear Maddie’s sweet voice and see the love in Kate’s eyes, her head turned upwards to see the words coming out of her sister’s mouth and you stop and watch and think “What did I ever do to deserve this blessing?”. That’s kairos.
Or when you’re sleeping in on a Sunday morning and you suddenly hear a tiny voice say, “Mommy” and you open one eye and there is a face staring at you over the edge of your bed and her hair is knotted and wild and she still has sleep in her voice but a smile on her face and you breathe out “Good morning, Maddie” and you know there is no sweeter sight. That’s kairos.
The author of this essay wrote that when those moments happen, she whispers to herself: kairos. And at the end of the day, she might not remember exactly what the moments were, but she’ll remember that she had them.
We can get so caught up in chronos, can’t we? The dishes and laundry and dinner and work. We forget to listen to the giggles or notice the look in someone’s eyes or say thanks for our blessings.
Try it. Whisper it to yourself next time you find yourself living in it.