Do-everything blogger Jordan Reid posted a piece on her site ramshackleglam.com nearly a year ago entitled Please Please (Please?) Stop Telling Me “It Goes So Fast.” You can read the post here: http://www.ramshackleglam.com/2016/05/04/please-please-please-stop-telling-me-it-goes-so-fast/3/
Her general thesis is two-fold. First, she writes, “I still hate hearing the words “it goes so fast”…but now I try to take them for what they are: the words of people whose own experiences parenting young children are often many, many years in the past, softened by the passage of time.”
If I’m reading it right, softened is the key word in the sentence. The more time passes, the more our tunnel vision comes into play narrowing down the memories of our children until all that remains are visions of white clouds and bunnies. Reid intimates about how quickly we forget the challenging times when Baby’s cuteness does nothing to mask Baby’s refusal to stop crying or Baby’s refusal to go to sleep or Baby’s refusal eat the blended green beans, or Baby’s refusal to let you change the diaper. During those instances, time can’t go by fast enough.
Reid has a point. I think back to when Baby Girl was actually a baby and I find that I must have a pretty selective memory. The only moments I can recall are moments of her laughing and smiling. Unless I think back really hard and, ah yes. There they are. Recollections of sleepless night when the colic would hit her hard. Or the time I stood outside under the shopping center awning with Baby Girl strapped to my chest wondering why I couldn’t calm my wailing child and what was taking my wife so long. I guess I’m not too far removed from those moments. But in thinking back it makes me laugh even if at the time I may have wanted to cry.
The second part of Reid’s critique focuses on not wanting those good times to end, of the desire to keep Baby a baby so that the warm cuddles last forever. Reid emphasizes that every stage is a chapter worth reading. And to this I can definitely agree.
A short time ago my wife sent me two pictures. The first was taken five years ago. The second was taken more recently. In the first, our good friend is holding Baby Girl. In the second, Baby Girl stands posing for the camera. In the first, our daughter has no hair and blue eyes. In the second, her hair is down to the small of her back and the blue eyes are now hazel. In the first, she barely smiles. In the second, her smile is wide and shows off her teeth.
After I got over how much she’d grown I thought about this article. About the experience of watching her grow. About how much more she has to go. Similar to Reid’s experience, I can now have a full conversation with my daughter about mostly anything. The moon. Watermelons. The art of drawing smiley faced butterflies. It’s great. It’s also an interesting gauge of time because sooner rather than later those talks will divert into more serious topics encompassing the world at large. She’ll have opinions, possibly different than mine – which is okay. But there’s a chance I’ll yearn for the days when our discussions revolved around really important topics. Like whether unicorns live at the end of the rainbow. That’s the protective father in me. It’s hard to accept even if it’s all apart of growing up.
Same goes for Baby Boy. He’s now to the point where we can have pseudo conversations, assuming you can translate his vocabulary. There are times where I find myself wanting him to grow up faster so he can clearly communicate his needs. The guessing game can get old.
And yet, other times I look at him and try to imagine what he’ll look like twenty years down the line. Then I find myself shaking the image off, wanting to just remember him as he is now. See? It goes both ways.
Unlike Reid, it doesn’t bother me when people talk about their children growing up so fast. Mostly because it’s true and I can always use a reminder to stop and soak it all in. Two days ago he was an immobile mass who just slept. Yesterday he was army crawling his way down our hall. Today he decided to do wind sprints through a crowded grocery store parking lot. Tomorrow he’ll want to borrow the car. And maybe years from now I won’t remember how I had to scold him and put a vice grip on his arm to ensure he wouldn’t go darting into oncoming traffic. Or maybe I will. Won’t matter. It’ll still be a good memory because it’ll remind me of a time when things were just maybe a little less complicated.
So feel free to tell me it goes fast. You’ll find no arguments here. After all, one thing is certain. It definitely does not go slowly. And even if you wanted to, there’s no way to pump the brakes.
Copyright 2017 Damien Alameda. All Rights Reserved.