14 years ago today we welcomed our first child and it feels like 1000 years ago and yesterday all at once. Time is elusive and crafty, bending and warping depending on perspective and hindsight. In just 4 years, my tiny chubby-cheeked baby will be a legal adult. (Seriously?!) My brain sees the little baby, the toddler I taught to throw away his own diapers, the first days of preschool, and then kindergarten. The onslaught of contradictory evidence is shoved in my face daily, (so rude!) with shadowy hairs on his upper lip, a startling ever-deepening voice, and his height. The fact that he has shot up is one of great pride for him. He loves to remind me each week musing, “Hey, we should measure me…,” with a mischievous glint in his eye, waiting for my eye roll.
I feel breathtakingly fortunate. Not that life with middle schoolers is a cake walk – because whoa. It’s rough out there, people! When talking with other parents (I’ve seen people do this when talking about their spouse, too), so often it devolves into a vent session about dumb stuff their kids have done, or what irritates them. It’s like a contest of whose spouse/kid is the worst. Feeling out of place in those conversations, I don’t contribute when chat goes in that direction. (Even if I did feel that way about them, why would I publicly complain about them?) I don’t get it. If I met them randomly, I would actually like them. For that, I am grateful.
Pictures of babes wrapped up in baby burritos are fun to look at once in a while, but I am not a person who yearns for early days of parenting. Those long monotonous days were hard, yo. Diapers, dishes, and deployments on repeat were long, not to mention the sleep deprivation. Love the memories, glad to have been present in them, but find like with most phases of the kids’ development, I revel in where they are right now. I dig their personalities, their sarcastic senses of humor, and hearing their perspectives on what’s going on in their lives.
While not pining for some mythical ‘good ole days’, I do find the phrase, “Slow down….just a bit,” whispered more frequently lately, as a prayer to Time that insists on marching forward.