I am overwhelmed, today – and was overwhelmed yesterday, and the day before that, and am certain that I will be similarly overwhelmed tomorrow – with this singular thought: I do not want my boy to grow up.
I don’t. I just don’t. I know that his future is bright and amazing and that the him that he will be in that bright and amazing future is a him that I will adore with every ounce of the intensity that I adore him now, and then some, but.
At this precise moment in time I am so love with Baby Him, with his soft, pale curls and his baby-tooth grin and his chubby baby bum and his tiny, grabby fists that clutch and hold and cling and the fact that I can press him to me and just hold, just hold on and breathe him in and pretend that we are still two pieces of one body, that I could, if I wanted to, press him back into my chest to beat as my own heart. This him, this incarnation of the human being that he is, this small, precious, sweet-smelling clutchable form of him – this I want to keep. This I want not to lose.
I know that this is impossible; wrong, even. I know that I should rejoice in the fact that he grows, he thrives, he marches – he leaps! he runs! he tumbles! – steadfastly forward into his own future. And I do, I do rejoice in this, just as I have rejoiced in the transformation of his sister from baby into girl. But I also mourn.
This is a truth about being a parent that nothing and no-one can prepare you for: that it is a continual experience of loss, a never-ending stream of moments of goodbye. That from the moment your children come into your life you are losing them. That the person your child is today is a person you will never meet again, a person that you will, in some ways, forget, as he or she is replaced by new people, bigger people, faster people, people with more words, people with more independence, people whose primary purpose is to move continually away from you. I look at Emilia and I can barely remember who she was as a baby; that baby, that her, is gone and obscured in the fog of my memory. I adore the girl that she is, of course, and the woman that she will become, but still: sometimes I miss that baby. Sometimes I miss that baby with an ache so deep that I feel it in my toes.
And so when I look at Jasper these days, when I watch him toddling and stumbling and pitching his fat little self forward, eager, into his sunlit future, I feel that ache and although I try to push it down, to push it away to make room for the joy of racing forward to meet the Jasper that he is becoming, I keep failing, and instead of pushing it away I let it sit in my belly like a weight and hold me still while I squeeze him to me, my baby, and try to freeze time for an eternity.
Because I am forgetting, and regretting that I forget: Wordless Wednesdays over at Their Bad Mother are henceforth going to be Wordless This Wednesday In History Wednesdays. Because, this. I need to cling to this.
Join me if you feel so inspired.