..this great black night, and this fireglow.

31 May

When my Vivian was a small infant, and I a new mother, my father gave me the sage advice that all grandparents seem to pass along.

“They grow up too fast. Enjoy the moment.”

Since I was juggling work, the adjustment to new motherhood by accident, and a baby who refused to nap without being bounced in a bouncy chair, I really wasn’t into appreciating the moment. I wanted the moment to pass so I could go pee or eat something.

Nearly 4 years later, I understand beyond any belief, I grasp this phrase as one of those truths you only hold dear after the fact.

I stare at both of my daughters some days, wondering where the babies I help aloof went. Where their tiny feet went, where their small grasping hands disappeared to. Their faces are now those they will carry through their lives, their legs losing the bowed stagger of toddlers, settling instead into childhood. I look on in wonder as Rosalyn navigates stairs on her belly, frighteningly fast. I shake my head when Vivian argues her point, loudly and clearly. Where did these children come from?

Yesterday it seems, a week ago, they were just squalling infants in my arms, chubby arms pulling themselves up, new feet slapping tile. I turned around to get something, and my babies were replaced with children, with MINE! And I don’t want to go home! My babies have been replaced by the daughters of my future.

I mourn that I ignored it. That I turned away from the wonder of their movement through stages so quickly I could blink and miss it. I find myself quietly asking why I couldn’t stop and see things through the glasses of memory, why I couldn’t just be, absorbing the place none of us would visit again.

It’s gone far to fast, and we’re only 4 years in for my oldest. But I see the future stretching out, quickly, elastic. I see my daughters as girls, as teens, as women. As the people they’ll be, they might be. I see them, and view the road which burns speeding from their past. I see myself dropped off as their life begins anew. I see myself wishing for grandchildren, for their happiness, for the living of their lives. I see the road, and it’s not too broad or even that far.

The future hovers over my head, much as I imagine it hovered, and still hovers over my father. I can hear in his voice the ache of past, the memories that congest his eyes, the child I once was, transposed over the woman formed by our joint past, by who he is.

I enjoy the moments as I catch them. Vivian throwing her arms around my head in the morning light. Rosalyn coy and sly, allowing just one kiss to her cheek. My daughters fighting for that toy, or book, or spot or whatever is owed to them in their little world.

Each day is past, full of smaller footprints than today might hold.

I drink of them, and hold it in for tomorrow.

2 Responses to “..this great black night, and this fireglow.”

  1. bon May 31, 2007 at 9:53 am #

    “full of smaller footprints than today might hold.”

    och, aye. this is what’s paralyzing me these days…i am suddenly aware how fast it’s slipping by and i am terrified, trying pointlessly to stay still, for fear of…what?

    of having missed it. yet like you, in the early days, i couldn’t believe it would ever end.

    perverse freaking world.

  2. Gwen May 31, 2007 at 3:13 pm #

    I think this, too, but I have done the best I could, enjoying the moments that were precious. Human memory is a strange and unreliable beast. And my youngest is 4, so I’m even farther down the path.

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