Sophia asked me today “How long is one week mommy?”  She’s just five and the whole time-space subject is still beyond her comprehension.  To her, “yesterday”, “today”, “last week” and “one hour ago” all have the same meaning–that is, they’re meaningless.  If we go somewhere, she always asks, “how long does it take to get there?” even if we’ve been there a zillion times.  Like most kids her age, she can’t comprehend the meaning of 10 minutes vs. 1 hour.  I have found however, that if I put it in some familiar frame of reference, the concept of time becomes easier to understand.  We started using “Spongebob time” when Emma was Sophia’s age, and this seems to satisfy their need to know “How long?”  Explaining time using television as the context is simple when your kids stare at it as much as mine do.  (Shut up, your kids watch it too, admit it.)   Spongebob time works like this:

Kid: “How long will it take to get there mom?”

Me: (if, for example, we’re going down to Charlotte, about a 1/2 hour away)  Well honey, it’s about one Spongebob.

Kid:  Oh, that’s not very long.  Good.

Me:  (if we’re going to our friend’s house in Waxhaw, about an hour away)  It’ll be about two Spongebobs honey.

Kid:  TWO WHOLE Spongbobs?  sighhhh.  That’s a little long mommy.

See how that works?  Unfortunately, any trips longer than two Spongebob episodes will actually require a REAL Spongebob episode or several, on the DVD player, to keep these kids from asking that question over and over and over.  I will never begrudge the Sponge.  Anyone who tries to tell me I am letting my kids rot their brains by allowing them to watch tv is just plain WRONG.  TV is teaching my kids very abstract concepts.  That, and also how to cry when I buy a pineapple to eat because I am “destroying Spongebob’s house!” (but SEE?  Creativity!  Imagination!  Not brain damage!) And if you are among the one or two people in the world who don’t let their kids watch Spongebob, this technique could easily be called “Sesame Street time” or “Wiggles Time” or “mommy is too masochistic to let you watch the idiot box so now you’ll never understand the concept of time” Time.

I digress.

The question of “how long is one week“, has me thinking in different terms.  Today’s “one week” time span marks a unique occasion in our lives.  In exactly one week from today we will be leaving our home here for a new home far away (20 Spongebobs to be exact).  In one week, we are moving from the place we’ve spent the past 8 years.  A place where I’ve done more than just spent time, but a place where I have LIVED and dreamed and watched my children grow.  This was the first house we ever owned.  This is the only house my youngest child has ever lived in.  This is the street where some of my favorite people in the world live.  This is the town where my oldest child started school and continued to go to the same one for 7 of her 10 years of life.  This is the place where I have met some of the most amazing people I know, where I have found the most incredible friends and have enjoyed so many fun moments with them.  This is the place where I discovered that being from the south is not something to be ashamed of or make fun of (though I still do), but is in fact something to be proud of (but no, I’m still not sporting any rebel flags!)  This is a place where you go to borrow a cup a sugar and end up spending an hour with that neighbor, laughing til it hurts.  This is the place where you don’t even have to ask for help, it just shows up.  If the walls could talk, this house would tell you that for every sorrow it has witnessed, it has seen a hundred more moments of joy in these past 8 years…Babies born, birthdays celebrated, Christmas Eves, New Year’s and Halloween parties with friends, coffee klatches in my kitchen, and frosty drinks on my porch…so many happy  times.   My daughters have known only this place.  To them, this is home, pure and simple.  This house saw first steps, first words, first days of school.  This house, this street, this town, this state, holds my heart.  Writing this, that heart is breaking.

One week from today, eight years of time will be relegated to the “memories” category.  Eight years.  A long period of time.   I can’t even calculate the equivalent number of Spongebobs. 

“One week.”  How long is one week then?  In this case, to answer Sophia’s question,

it’s the blink of an eye.