Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Where do the days go to? Forget that, where do the years go?

Having children is great. Yeah, everyone says that, and at the same time everyone gets run ragged during the same journey, but really, honestly and truly, having children is great.

One great aspect of having children is watching them progress. Starting from this helpless bundle that leaves the hospital with you, reliant on you to do everything from feed, change, bath and even burp them. So helpless, pure and innocent. Then you watch them as they start to crawl, make those first few moves towards walking as you nervously try to catch them and make sure they don't fall into anything sharp or hard. Reminded of the anxiety of that as I write about it! Slowly they begin to talk, or in most cases just make some noises that only parents can decipher as 'talking', and even then with some effort.

In what seems a few days they are constantly talking to you, asking questions that amuse and amaze you  - "Daddy, you can't drink coffee in a car because drinking and driving is bold" - and in public discussing what sometimes seems like the most thought out ways to embarrass you.

On it goes, at lightning speed, to pre-school or school - that first day where you are more nervous that your child, and like all the other parents tiptoe around the room nervously, exchanging anxious smiles with other parents. This moment, while you don't know it at the time, is when they start their own lives independently. Up to now everything in their life and behaviour has been managed and controlled by you. Their interactions have been with who you have decided and you have been there to jump in whenever needed. Now, they are on their own. And perhaps more of a blow - you are.

All that is about a four-year journey, and definitely there are times where it feels like years longer (usually when you are up for your tenth sleepless night nursing a sick or sleepless child), but taken as a whole it seems like days. That child who is answering you back, who is disagreeing with you on bedtime or that they are old enough to play Minecraft because their classmates are, is suddenly no longer your little baby. They have morphed into a fully independent individual with all that entails. How did that happen?

However this strange distortion of time happens on the parenting journey, the lesson I have learned and will share is that parents should embrace every moment, record every memory, and really be mindful of the many, many stages of development we are privileged to share. Do it now, because these days, months and years will fly by and they only happen once in a lifetime.

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