It’s amazing how easily you can blub when you’re a parent. Today I have welled up at a photo of two men meeting their baby for the first time, someone asking for ideas for a 7-year-old’s sleepover party and a video of a 3-year-old mastering cycling. Maybe it’s just one of those hormonal days. Alternatively, perhaps I’m spending too much time on the internet when I should be working – my sensitive side finding solace in human interest stories whilst rallying against a darned dull piece of paid work. (Which, incidentally, now won’t get finished today because I’m writing a blog post that no one will pay me for. Priorities, priorities.)
When I look at what’s moved me, I realise that it’s not just wonderful memories that can spark the tears. It can be the thought of the things that are to come: in this case, my son finally learning to pedal (still struggling with trikes – bikes are a long way off) and the day when my daughter wants her first sleepover party. The latter is probably not far off as she’s already organising in her head (I trust it will remain a pipedream) a pyjama party to show off her new bedroom furniture when it arrives. However, I’ve been assured that her guests “will go home at the normal time” and – as the boys she’s inviting are a bit “runny” – she’ll be putting up a No Running sign. 5-year-olds can be so sensible.
Parents get too hung up on not wishing away time. It’s easily done, after all who doesn’t long for the moment when their children start to behave like rational beings, have non-violent reactions to your use of the word ‘no’ and understand that, really, the iPad will not survive being thrown down the stairs/dropped in the toilet/jumped on. It’s cause and effect, darling, so you can stop bawling. Rather than worrying about time passing and the childhood years dwindling away, let’s expend some of that wasted emotional energy on savouring the moment and looking forward to what’s to come. That’s what kids do. They always want to be bigger, older, go to work like daddy, wear mummy’s shoes, learn that those last two points are out-dated stereotypes of gender roles, etc etc.
What’s done is done. No matter how hard you try, you can’t turn back time (even Cher failed). And there’s always tomorrow, as I tell myself after a day of particularly bad parenting. First steps have been taken, first words uttered, first poos pooped in potties – enjoy the memories but look forward to the next milestone as it approaches at a rate of knots. Talking of which, my 5-year-old lost her first tooth yesterday. What a momentous occasion. Another first ticked off the list, tainted with a little bit of sadness. But the joy of it? There are still another 20-odd of the little b*ggers to fall out! See, there’s so much more to come.