I’ve been thinking a lot about aging – not my own (although also my own), but my child’s. Thanks to photo-remembering-apps, I am bombarded each day with images of my child from years past. When the pandemic began, my kiddo had just learned to walk. He would tolerate our early morning stroller walks primarily because he didn’t know there were other options, and I would snap a selfie of us after each one, hoping to document his incremental growth. Now, this child runs everywhere, barreling past me even on steep inclines. Now that he knows he can play instead of being bundled up in a stroller, those early morning walks are a thing of the past. But when I look at his 2.5 year old face, I see the baby that he was, and now, with the passage of time, I find I’m starting to catch glimpses of the adult he will become.
In her (amazing) novel, Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng describes this phenomenon perfectly:
"To a parent, your child wasn’t just a person; your child was a place, a kind of Narnia, a vast eternal place where the present you were living and the past you remembered and the future you longed for all existed at once. You could see it every time you looked at her: layered in her face was the baby she’d been and the child she’d become and the adult she would grow up to be, and you saw them all simultaneously, like a 3-D image. It made your head spin. It was a place you could take refuge, if you knew how to get in. and each time you left it, each time your child passed out of your sight, you feared you might never be able to return to that place again."
As a new parent, I bucked at the adage, “the days are long but the years are short.” That first year felt long, but now that my child has rounded the corner on year three, it feels as though I’m getting closer and closer to the firehose of time as its waters rush past.
I suppose there’s no moral this week, no lesson, only the invitation to hit the pause button and experience this 3-D image of your little one(s).