Making peace with time
… that their happiness may protect us
now and on other days.
– Yehuda Amichai
One year in to your life on earth, and we are both in flux, ready to move on – and yet not ready to let go of the baby days.
Me: I can’t quite understand why there isn’t a constant song of protest in the air from mothers crying out “please don’t grow up!” Or perhaps at a soul level, if we could only hear it, this is the cry that is going up. Or then again, perhaps other people don’t feel this as intensely, are relieved or simply excited to see such rapid change. How would I know what others feel?
Why don’t people talk about how this feels?
Every time I see a child who is older than five, I think: yes, that is going to happen to you too, you will lose your babyhood; and I’ll have to watch it happening.
Couldn’t you be the one exception? (It is so hard to imagine you being “big” that yes, there is a part of me that thinks this is possible!) Is there no way to hold onto this stage? I understand, now, that the fantasy of a place where a child can forever be a child is not created solely, or even principally, to satisfy the imaginations of children.
You: You are practicing new things all the time.
- Daddy will sometimes get a wave; last night he got three.
- You are interested in lids: not all of them have a cap that you can pull off. One of the creams has a lip on the end of the cap which you can lift up. Some of the lids require a twisting action to allow you to get to what’s inside. Daddy’s been showing you how to do it, but it’s quite a hard thing to master.
- Climbing is getting to be quite fun. You can climb over Daddy Mountain by flopping your way over his legs. You can climb up Mummy’s legs as far as her knees, when she’s sitting down. And you can reach the seat of the sofa, or pull yourself onto the first step of the mini stairs, when you have a mind to do it.
- You recognise people, places and things. You’re starting to have favourites: soft bally ball, Milo the monkey, Daddy, and Granny’s cat, whose suspicious reserve leaves you unperturbed.
Me: It’s easier now than it was for those of us who know you to take your existence a little more for granted. You have the feel of someone who isn’t going anywhere; you’re here to stay, and your little personhood is an undeniable fact. This is something to celebrate. But I find I still want to be alive to those little jolts of surprise that other people convey when they meet your eyes for the first time. The open mouth, the light in the eyes, the direct smile. Is this partly what I’m scared of losing? That the longer you’re around, the more we’ll forget that just your sheer presence is enough? Or is it the other way round: that your excitement for the world makes everything fresh and new, and I can see you becoming more accustomed to things within it day by day?
- You are eager to use your energy well, to spend yourself on your surroundings. You have no fear that it will run out, that you will be swamped with tiredness. When you’ve had enough, you sleep (eventually). When you haven’t, you won’t.
- You sleep in total surrender to the forces of goodness and love. I remember, now, that we used to wonder if that was a dream flickering across your face. What could you be dreaming of, we used to say, when there is apparently so little material for your thoughts? But your sleep seems somehow more secure these days. Your hand rests where it falls, just like your head.
Me: I notice that as your spirit develops more independence, it becomes more possible for you to be a participant in the things we are doing. The more that you become you, the more we can relate, and bond, and share as interconnected beings sitting together at the table of life.
But if that is the case, then I have one request to make of you. Please teach me. Teach me what you need, and what you know. Teach me how to be – here – and teach me how to love.
Image by PBCPartners from Pixabay