January 13, 2005

Time Stand Still

RP's girl child just celebrated her fourth birthday. To celebrate, she has moved out of diapers. RP found this milestone a poignant occasion. RP, as she's your first child, you need to know that this is just the beginning of many poignant moments. As you know, we have three kids, and our youngest is a year-and-a-half older than your girl child.

Diapers are nothin'. In fact, we were doing backflips when our youngest was finally out of diapers/pull-ups. Instead, just wait to experience going through the Hefty bag full of stuffed animals collected by all your kids over the years, deciding which ones go to Goodwill, and which ones get to stay in the attic for future grandkids. You'll watch that scene in Toy Story 2 where Jessie gets dropped off by her girl with a whole new perspective.

Or wait until your child starts getting uncomfortable being seen with you in public (my oldest followed me at a distance of 10 feet through Fry's Electronics a couple of months ago). Sure, it's a necessary part of maturing, starting to establish one's independence, but it's tough.

My middle child, an 8-year-old boy (all boy!) reached up to hold my hand tonight in the parking lot as we walked into the grocery store. He still does that every now and then. And every time he does it, I wonder is this the last time??

Two weeks ago my little girl asked me to take her training wheels off so she can learn to ride a "2-wheeler," as our kids put it. She'll be the third child I've taught (and she's learning much faster than the two boys ahead of her did). As I was running backwards down the sidewalk with my hands positioned under her handlebars helping steady her when she needed it, I realized this is the last time I'll be teaching one of my children to do this.

It hit me really hard -- She's my baby, but she's not talking like one any more. She's growing up into a graceful, beautiful, smart, charming girl. Watching her play soccer for the first time this year made me realize just how big she's gotten. When did that happen??! When did her brothers get so tall? If the oldest is approaching the teen years, that means middle age is close behind for me, and after that ... ? -- Not ready to go there yet.

I can understand why only children get so easily spoiled, as every moment becomes a potential poignant moment. But when you have more than one, you kind of get spoiled yourself knowing there'll be another chance, another way to relive the moment. But after you've lived the moment with the last one, what next?

Driving lessons, I suppose, coming up in five years for the oldest child (which is about how long ago he was learning to ride the bike without training wheels).

It always seems lowbrow to quote rock lyrics to make a point, but there was a Rush song I didn't like very much when it came out, but now I completely identify with it. Focus especially on the last two verses:

Time Stand Still

I turn my back to the wind
To catch my breath,
Before I start off again
Driven on,
Without a moment to spend
To pass an evening
With a drink and a friend

I let my skin get too thin
I’d like to pause,
No matter what I pretend
Like some pilgrim --
Who learns to transcend --
Learns to live
As if each step was the end

Time stand still --
I'm not looking back
But I want to look around me now
See more of the people
And the places that surround me now

Freeze this moment
A little bit longer
Make each sensation
A little bit stronger
Experience slips away...

I turn my face to the sun
Close my eyes,
Let my defences down --
All those wounds
That I can't get unwound

I let my past go too fast
No time to pause --
If I could slow it all down
Like some captain,
Whose ship runs aground --
I can wait until the tide
Comes around

Make each impression
A little bit stronger
Freeze this motion
A little bit longer
The innocence slips away...

Summer's going fast --
Nights growing colder
Children growing up --
Old friends growing older
Experience slips away...

I think I'll excuse myself to go get a beer and read a book now, if you don't mind...

Posted by JohnL at January 13, 2005 10:41 PM

I've been consciously trading money for time recently. Now I just have to figure out something useful/ important/ possible to do with time.

Posted by: owlish at January 13, 2005 11:25 PM

I'd like to join you in that beer, John.

Posted by: RP at January 14, 2005 04:47 AM

[...too choked up to comment...]

Posted by: Chan S. at January 14, 2005 12:57 PM

Very nice, JohnL. I wonder how many times one of my children will fall asleep on my lap or leaning up next to me....maybe once or twice more if I am lucky.


Posted by: JAB at January 31, 2005 09:31 AM
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