If there is one thing that every parent can agree on, it’s that children grow up too fast. Life speeds up as we become adults, but once we have children, time moves at warp speed. Children transform overnight.
Today is my baby’s first birthday. Now he’s my one-year-old. One week from today will be his brother’s fourth birthday.
I sit here with mixed emotions. On one hand, I look forward to the near future. After the first year with a baby, things should start to get a little easier. My baby’s personality continues to unfold, and he is just as delightful as his brother was at this age. Curious. Sweet. Easily brought into a fit of laughter.
Likewise, my four-year-old becomes more independent, creative, talkative and inquisitive. He has completely passed the toddler stage. He’s a little boy. Sometimes I can’t believe how tall he’s getting.
Both boys can drain my energy within the first hour of the morning, but watching them grow is the most rewarding experience of my life.
On the other hand, there are moments when I reach out in my mind to stop this flow of time, but like a river, it pours through my fingers, and I feel helpless. Having two children has let me know how quickly memories fade. I had forgotten how small newborns are when my second son was born. Whenever he reaches a milestone, I think about his older brother and how I can’t completely remember what he was like at that age. It was not long ago, but my mind can’t grasp details the way I want it to.
I suppose my whole life I will wish that I could go back, just for a moment, to the morning and the night my sons were born. I would like to hold the tiny infants while knowing who they will become. Nothing could be sweeter than that.
All I can do is hold them now – when they let me – and concentrate on some small detail. How my baby curls up and tucks his hands between his and my chest when I hold him. How my four year old cries out “What happened?” whenever my husband and I make the slightest exclamation.
These are things that will be lost over time, but if I try, I’ll remember. I’ll tuck them away for when the boys think they don’t need me anymore. I’ll tuck them away for when they really don’t need me anymore too.
My one-year-old crawls, or rather, scoots, with one leg curled up in front of him. He goes after everything he can reach, and I know that soon he’ll be running around, grabbing everything I have put up on the higher shelves. My four-year-old is busy playing pretend. One moment he tells me he’s a hermit crab with a box over his head, and another moment, he tells me he is a dinosaur and roars in my face.
As much as I want to hang onto these moments, I can’t wait to find out what he’s going to be tomorrow, either.
Shelli Bond Pabis is a Winder resident and columnist for the Barrow Journal. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.