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Ruta Mave: Embracing moments before they’re gone

Monday 17 June 2024 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Editorials, Opinion

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Ruta Mave: Embracing moments before they’re gone
Ruta Tangiiau Mave. Photo: CI NEWS

Time is money tick tock. We spend time, take time, give time, time and time again. If we invest time, do we get more time back later than invested? Ruta Mave writes.

When you save time, can you bank it, keep it for a rainy day? When you take time where or who does it come from? What do you do with spare time and does it really exist?

They say time heals, I say time has heels that can dig in and resist change. Maybe in time, I’ll be proven wrong, hopefully sometime before I am out of time or in time out.

What I do know is; time waits for no man but stands still for a woman of forty.

I was recently in Auckland to spend time with my son and daughter now in their twenties with one about to venture overseas. I wanted to do a road trip to Rotorua and have some fun time with them creating memories, white water rafting, horseback riding, luging and soaking in the hot pools. On our return via Tokoroa to visit my eighty something aunty and uncle we would see the Hobbiton movie set.

It had been eight years since our last trip together to London and Paris for a wedding. Then they were dependant on me for everything, now they had their own funds and were driving me around – instead of driving me crazy. Living overseas away from family means I make sure I visit as often as possible even for a short time because time is a comodity you can never get back. No matter how much time you save; taking short cuts driving to work or all those little minutes clocked up from time saving devices, they are not at your disposal to be cashed in when you get a phone call saying your mamma or papa is fading and not likely to last long.

When you most need time on your side for an emergency trip to catch those last important moments with them before they pass, they are not there, they do not exist. Minutes are wasted standing in lines, stuck in traffic, waiting for tardy employees to open shop or answer phones or attend to your desperate attempts to go – now.

I choose to invest time and money, making memories in small snatches of time over tea and toast when everyone is relaxed engaging and lucid then we will all have the memories of us.

When I found out their 90 plus paternal grandfather was briefly admitted to hospital, I asked if they wanted to change our itinerary to go and visit him.

Time is fickle and opportunity presents itself to make the most of time, by giving time for others, so you are not left marking time watching them sleep unaware of your presence.

I did not want them to ever feel guilty for not making the time to see their grandparents who have less time for life ahead of them than they have behind them.

When you are young and your life starts heading in all sorts of directions full of adventure, it is easy to dismiss time thinking there will be another time to catch up. Unfortunately, there is nothing so debilitating as regretting time that can never be reclaimed, recycled or reused.

We drove in a small car from Auckland to Fielding for eight hours. They visited for three hours then I picked them up and we started driving back to Auckland. No exciting activities, no new adventures or challenges, no external prompts to create conversation, feelings or magical moments captured on camera.

We had rain and traffic. We were strapped in facing forward difficult to make eye contact and connect. We stayed enroute in one small motel room all together grabbing takeaway food and attempting to watch Netflix before falling asleep. No fancy restaurants, no dressing up, no staged photo poses. Was precious time lost or wasted for me? No.

My objective was to spend time with my kids and I did. Despite the cramped conditions, we had a bonding time. We talked about our lives, our experiences our thoughts and opinions. We laughed and teased each other and recalled favourite memories of younger years and long-ago days and memories. I got to watch my kids interact and relate with each other, which is a rare occasion for me and I cherished this time knowing they have a good relationship and will always be there for each other.

Of all the memories we have created over time being together, I treasure knowing they have time to create more memories with each other that I may not be a part of, but I have played my part to have them enjoy times together – to realise they are worth the time.