Friday, 11 May 2012

The First and Final Moments

Tonight, child-number-one is having his very first sleep over.  His cousins are in town and staying at Nana's house, so he is spending the night with his freshly rediscovered very-best-friend cousin.  They are the same age, love the same things, and have totally opposite personalities.  It is a perfect toddler combination, but the perfection of their friendship is not what this post is about - it is merely a side note to explain how the real story came to be.  Nevin's first sleepover.  My little boy is grown up and becoming, slowly, independent.  He's always been sensitive and shy and keenly aware of my presence in the room, so this is a big step for him.  Its his official entrance into boyhood.  I am fully aware that at some point tonight I'll probably get the call to go pick him up, but that is insignificant; he was excited to leave home for the night and leave me.

There have been many firsts in our house this week and it has me a little nostalgic.  Some of them were small -- Nevin flew a kite by himself for the first time today -- and some of them were much bigger -- Scarlett took her first steps.  My children are just that; children, not babies.  I love everything about the stages they are at, especially Nevin's witty comments and twisted vision of the world, but at the same time I'm a little heartsick for who they were.  I miss the old them... mostly because I know I will never have them back.

A few weeks ago, I came across an amazing essay about all the unmarked Final Moments that our children have.  It was about all the times your child does something wondrous for the last time, and the things you would do if only you had known it would never happen again.  Things like, if you had known that it was going to be last time your child wanted you to read them a bedtime story, you would've spent the whole night savoring those last special moments instead of rushing through what you thought was a monotonous routine.  It was by Jonathan Sale, for The Guardian, and if you have a moment and a tissue, I recommend reading it.  He puts these sentiments into words far better than I ever could.

Parenting is dichotomous.  On one side, my children are wonderful, hitting their milestones with familial joy.  On the other side, I can't help but wonder, "how did I come to care for someone so deeply that even when they do everything right, they still make me doleful?"


p.s. Midway through writing this post, I did get the phone call.  Thank Goodness.  My little boy needed to come home for a goodnight kiss and a cuddle.  Maybe neither of us were ready; both of us were pretty content to be all bundled up in his own bed at home.

p.s.s. A picture is coming of the kite experience :)

1 comments:

  1. throughout their lives we will constantly be experiencing their firsts and watching them deal. luckily it is a slow process but one that still is ongoing. i don't think we can ever let go

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