Yesterday, something profound occurred : Something slightly painful and sad actually. And you know, I’m really glad it did.
Whilst looking for an old contact number, I fished my old Blackberry from the depths of our ‘device graveyard’ as it’s referred to around here. It’s been in there for around 3 years, waiting for me to download its important contents. Suffice to say that so far, I haven’t bothered. No spare time for such efficient luxury.
So I plug in the charger and fire up what seems like an old dinosaur, with its tiny buttons and even tinier screen. And its imbecilic non-touch-screen capability; whilst trying like a loser to remember how it works (largely by swiping the screen that we’ve just concluded won’t respond – No matter how many times I try)
And there it is, popping up before my eyes – My whole life, 3 years ago. Not that long ago is it? …. or so I thought anyway.
So naturally, I set about scrolling through old messages and photos and I have to say, I felt sad. Not just ‘nostalgic’ sad. But really sad. Eyes welling-up sad.
And then it hit me – My four children have totally and irrevocably changed in just that small time.
I’ve blinked. And they’ve changed. All of them.
Now, don’t get me wrong – My default setting is usually one of excitement about the future: Looking forward to the years ahead. I am SO excited about all of my children’s’ futures as well as my own together with my husband. But just for last night, I allowed myself to wallow in a bit of yesteryear …
My once utterly care-free older daughter has gone from being a pony-tailed player of toys and make-believe games, who only then dabbled in a touch of lip-gloss for fun, to a plucked & preened, Beautiful worrier. She turns heads wherever we go – From actual grown men. Grown men whom I need to punch in the face. She is a woman now. Albeit a woman with a mind still whimsical and unaware of what’s in store for the next few transient years. Nowadays you will find her bogged down by GCSE coursework and exams. My old concerns and rants of “make sure you keep that Bike helmet on EVEN when you are out of sight, young lady” have been replaced for “please make sure you don’t distract your (newly qualified driving) boyfriend from concentrating on the road”.
My oldest son has gone from being a primary schoolboy rich in spare time and bruises, able to ‘play’ out on the lane with whoever happened to be out there, whenever he chose, to a secondary school grammar boy who leaves home dressed like a business man in the dark, and returns in the dark. Only then to be buried under a pile of homework until it’s time to eat, sleep, repeat. No room for manoeuvre in this schedule anymore. For him – There simply aren’t enough hours in the day for a random afternoon ‘kick about’. Free time for this young man is limited to just the weekends. And I’m telling you – That actually REALLY sucks.
My youngest daughter has morphed from a tiny reception class pupil, swamped by her ‘smallest size available’ school uniform, into an assertive young beaut who knows what she wants. She actually knows everything. Of course she does; she watches and learns from her older siblings and my goodness she is wise way beyond her years. Heck, she is more sensible than even I! She wants to be Taylor swift. She wants her ears to be pierced. In the pictures shown on my old wrecker of a phone it becomes very clear, and awakens the memories that this girl used to only think about two things: Trifle and Peppa Pig… Not anymore. Those days are gone. She is now a sophisticate.
And then there is our baby of the family. He is a baby. Except for the fact that he is not. Hi will be four this June. FOUR!… He wears Babygro’s and plays for hours with his shapes. He sits contently on the floor whilst nibbling on some of his favourite Marmite flavoured rice-cakes; dribbling all over himself, the house and his shapes. No wait …. He is nearly FOUR now. He doesn’t do that anymore. He is now having to practice his ‘pincer’ grip FOR GODS SAKE in readiness for writing at school in seven months’ time. SEVEN BLOODY MONTHS’ TIME!!! Without me really even noticing: the highchair has gone. The buggy has gone. The cot has gone. The dribbling remains but the shapes have been packed-up and placed in the loft for, *cringes* grandchildren.
The truth is, I have not even noticed the absolute passing of the way it was only three years ago. I didn’t even notice it go. I thought everything was still the same. But it really isn’t. And in another three years, the changing face of my family will have struck again.
Please excuse me while I let out a big wail!
All this has evolved in only three years.
So, my clear message to myself, my husband, and any other parent of young children who happens to be reading this, is simply – Savour the day. I mean really do. Enjoy your little ones as they are today because soon, that little person will have evolved and who they are right now will, rather depressingly, have gone.
Sure, frogs are still the same beings as the tiny tadpoles that they started off life as being. But they’re not really, are they? You can’t hang out with that tadpole anymore. You can’t take it to build-a-bear workshop or expect it to happily wear pig-tails. You can’t kiss and ‘squidge’ those tiny little chubby tadpole tails once they’ve metamorphosed and disappeared, can you? (Amphibian rhetoric taken too far?)
Just enjoy your tadpoles’ people. Enjoy them now, will you.
Don’t fall into that trap of “next year will be different/easier/somehow more sorted” because he or she will be able to do this or that.
Don’t wish the years away, whilst somehow believing that things will one day arrive where you want them to be.
Life is now. It’s today.
And soon ‘today’ will just be represented by a bunch of old phone photos that will make you feel sad/weird/bereft/gutted/like you have an actual hole in your heart, on an old phone that you can’t work anymore.
AND FINALLY …
a depressing picture to end on. (I particularly like the dog grave at the end!)