“O sweet, delusive Noon, Which the morning climbs to find, O moment sped too soon, And morning left behind.” – Helen Hunt Jackson
Where has the time gone?
It seems like just-yesterday, you fit into my hand: so small and (seemed) so breakable.
I was so scared every time you moved or made a noise. I would hold my breath and just watch you, making sure I could see the rise and fall of your tiny little chest.
Man, I was so afraid to dress you. I would look everywhere for a button or zip-up onesie, as I was afraid your head would pop off your neck if I tried putting a shirt over your little head.
Of course, that would never happen, but your dad was just so scared. I was so certain I would drop you, or do something that I would have to explain to your mom.
We had some good, late-night talks about how our days were, over feedings and our strolling around the bedroom, or living room, as I tried to get rid of your hiccups. (And, no, I still have not told mom our secret for getting rid of your hiccups so quickly; so don’t tell her). We also caught up on the sports highlights we’d missed that day on Sports Center.
During that time, the minutes seemed to go so-slow. I was so certain everything around you was a possible threat–to cause you harm. When anyone would hold you, I would watch them like a hawk, keeping a running clock in my head as to how long they held you. I didn’t really like sharing you.
By the way ,when we would have our little chats, I am sure you understood me, as you would smile at me or make a noise here and there. (I am pretty sure, most of the time, you just farted and giggled, so thanks for humoring the old man.)
Now, you should know. Just like now, your dad loved kissing on you and hugging you. And, like now, you would mess with good, old dad. Some days, I feel like I have blinked and you’re now 2-1/2 years old. I wonder: Where has the time gone? From that little boy who fit into my hands, you’re now so tall. You still fit in my arms, and your personality grows each minute of the day. Your vocabulary is expanding, as well as your food intake (as well as the grocery bill).
You can count to 9 right now (you have trouble with 8 sometimes, but I’m still counting it). You’re expressing what you want more and more (I could go for fewer of your “no’s”). You look so grown-up to me. I really can’t believe your age.
I am happy, but sad as well. (Happy, because you’re growing and learning and doing all the things a well-developed child should be. But, I am sad, because a part of me still wishes you would fit in my hands. I still want our late night talks, our bonding over your hiccups.
I so love watching you play with your dinosaurs, explaining to me how the fight is playing out. Your T-Rex and Horn say: “Bring it on!” I watch how excited you are about it all. I understand that this is the natural cycle of things, but (as your dad) I want to be able to slow these times down–to go back a few years every now and then.
Sadly, life doesn’t allow for that.
Oh, I can imagine the wonders you have yet to see–the things you have yet to experience. I want to thank you for allowing me to be a part of these earliest adventure. It has brought me endless smiles and laughs. When you’re not looking, I won’t lie… there have been some tears too. They’ve mostly been tears of joy, but a few of sadness, as I’m realizing how quickly these days are becoming the past–with every breath and blink.
So, do the old man a favor… When you see him staring at you–with a smile on his face–give him a hug and let him hold you.
As I believe for those few brief minutes, that I can hold back time (and hold that tiny, little baby in my hands once again).