I remember when Tru was a baby and he’d cry whenever I set him down. He wanted to be carried by me – wanted to be near me – always. The hours passed so slowly then. I’d feel like an entire afternoon had passed, then glance at the clock to discover it was only 10am. In the exhausting early years, I’d often wish the days away…
But as Tru has grown, a reversal has happened within me. Now I frequently panic over how quickly time is moving. He’s no longer my baby, no longer my toddler, no longer my preschooler. Those days are all gone; vanished as though they were never even real at all. He’s charging through his kindergarten year at lightning speed too. Soon enough, he’ll no longer be my little boy.
The experience of feeling Love slip through your fingers is an excruciating kind of pain; it’s very hard to process. The only thing I’ve ever found helpful are my spiritual practices of living more fully in the present. I’m determined not to let these moments of joy and connection pass by unnoticed or unappreciated.
I came across a sweet poem (below) and I don’t want to live this regret. I wish that I could keep my little boy – all of his laughter and light and joy – near to me always. And I can’t do that. But I can make sure I don’t miss one opportunity for a bedtime story, a cuddle, a game, a moment of whispers before bed.
Last night after dinner, we all sat around the table and played the dice game Farkle as a family. Tru loved adding up and tracking our scores. Afterward, we all split some Cookie Monster ice cream (vanilla ice cream with blue food coloring, mixed with crushed chocolate chip cookies). He sat on my lap to “stay warm” while he ate his icy-cold dessert. Cookie Monster is one of Tru’s favorite flavors and mine too. It gives us all blue tongues and lips. When I tucked Tru in at night, he said, “Mama will you sleep in my bed tonight?” I said okay, and lay beside him. We whispered and giggled and talked about how Tru sleeps with his eyes open (he thinks he does, but they’re always closed when I check on him!) Eventually he told me I could leave so he could sleep! I won’t miss these “little” moments with my little boy. Because one day, they’ll only be cherished memories. Love is here, now, and nothing else much matters at all.
My hands were busy through the day,
I didn’t have much time to play
The little games you asked me to,
I didn’t have much time for you.
I’d wash your clothes; I’d clean and cook,
But when you’d bring your storybook
And ask me, please, to share your fun,
I’d say, “A little later, son.”
I’d tuck you in all safe at night,
say goodnight, turn out the light,
Then tiptoe softly to the door,
I wish I’d stayed a minute more.
For life is short, and years rush past,
A little boy grows up so fast,
No longer is he at your side,
His precious secrets to confide.
The storybooks are put away,
There are no children’s games to play,
No goodnight kiss, no song to hear,
That all belongs to yesteryear.
My hands once busy, now lie still,
The days are long and hard to fill,
I wish I might go back and do,
The little things you asked me to.
-poem by Alice E. Chase