They grow up so quickly, everyone reminds me. Time flies faster as we get older, they tell me. Cherish every moment, people implore me. What no one told me was how funny it is that there are certain things I will remember forever, and other things I will never recall, because it’s impossible to cherish and remember every single moment. Truth be told, there were many moments I don’t want to cherish, or remember–many of them involving sleepless nights or cleaning up some form of body fluid or me losing my shit in a less than gracious form.
But I do remember how warm it was that late November day we brought him home. It felt downright balmy on that sunny day as I carried the car seat awkwardly and gently into the house. I do remember the first time I dropped him off at daycare and I sobbed and sobbed until I picked him up at the end of the work day. I do remember his first steps, and that I gently pushed him over because I knew my life would only get more difficult if he was mobile. I do remember his two surgeries in his young life, and how I simultaneously cried and held my breath for the duration of each. I do remember his first day of kindergarten, and I managed not to cry.
I don’t remember the last time I picked him up and held him. I don’t remember the last time I “nibbled” his toes. I don’t remember the last book I read to him on my lap. I don’t remember the last time he held my hand crossing the street. I don’t remember the last time he crawled into my bed in the middle of the night scared of a nightmare or thunderstorm. I don’t remember the last time he believed my kisses could heal a boo-boo. (Now, he believes Band-Aids will heal everything)
I didn’t know then it would be the last time. Until time had passed, and I realized he would no longer fit on my lap, and that he hadn’t cuddled on my lap in a very long time. It wasn’t until he stepped on a scale and clocked in at over 100 lbs. that I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I picked him up and carried him. Realizing that I didn’t know then when each of those were the Last Times reminds me to cherish Each Time now. I won’t know until it’s too late that it will be the Last Time as he grows up and away from me . Sadly, his younger sister is the recipient of this realization, as I cuddle and snuggle her every chance I get. When I’m holding her, I look at him wistfully, wishing for wasted moments past. I’d like to think I maximized my cuddle time with him, and I know he didn’t lack for loving touches and hugs and kisses. But I know I spent too many moments distracted or too busy cleaning the house or making organic baby food from scratch or well, I don’t even remember what some of those distractions are anymore. Irony can be so cruel.