The blue eyed little boy on the TV, newly minted as a 2 year old, was busy serenading himself “happy birthday” and giggling with delight as he demanded time after time after time to blow out those birthday candles. “AGAIN, AGAIN!” would come the call, followed by a squeal of thrill when the request was (of course) met.
I watched in awe at this scene unfurling before my eyes, riveted by this beautiful child and his bubbly nature (not to mention vocabulary!) so much so you’d have assumed it was the very first time I’d bared witness to this event.
But no, in fact, there was I, standing behind the little boy – my son – dutifully singing along, chatting, and generally appearing to be acquiescing to his every little demand.
2 years on from that special day, and 4 years later from when he joined our world and it finally hit me – I was so guilty of constantly, quietly, willing time to fly by, of failing to be completely present in the moment that it meant cherished memories like this only existed like a foggy outline in my mind, instead of in picture perfect condition.
Yet, paradoxically, times like when I was helplessly cradling a squalling 3 month old who was howling with the ferocity of a five year old (or so it felt) for a 12 hour marathon day lay in my brain with crystal clear clarity, easily extracted at a minute’s notice!
It floored me with all the force of a freak wave crashing against a rocky cliff-face. For 4 entire years I.Had.Been.Doing.It.All.Wrong
All of a sudden the urge to turn back time to that precise moment, to stop and savour it instead of constantly looking forward to what was coming next in the developmental stage of a child, or worse, wishing it away (like the entire “terrible two’s!) was strong. I wanted to shake myself, and remind me these moments don’t get to be duplicated – well not in the real world at least. Thank God I suppose for video cameras and their capability of recording treasured moments so that distracted parents like me can reflect back on these moments with some belated appreciation of the milestone!
But with the knowledge that our number 2 child will be along to meet us all in a mere 6 months, suddenly I’m beset with the quiet fear that there is so much I’ve missed. That I’ve failed to take the appropriate time out to truly appreciate every little stage that we’ve experienced – good or bad – and that there are no second chances to slip back to that moment in time and try to re-live it first-hand again.
So instead of wishing things to just keep speeding along as the second child comes into our life I will try to do it all a little differently. I’ll be long overdue to quell my impatient Aries tendencies and focus that energy on the gift that is the present instead.