Isaac was always our snuggler. Then toddler-hood descended and he became a beam of light in a room full of mirrors; a bowling ball shot out of a cannon. This didn’t mean we could no longer hug or hold him — but that it was often like catching the wind in a fishing net.
Bedtime. That’s when our child, this barely contained assemblage of chaotic energy, sat on our laps quietly while we read. It was my time to hold him close. Several months ago, he climbed into bed for the evening — but chose to sit beside me for his bedtime story. I wonder if he heard my voice crack as I read to him?
“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.” (Dr. Seuss)
Sometimes what we’re certain will last always and forever — happens for the last time. Parenting is a series of those transitions: The adorable mispronunciation that fades into maturity. The assistance they no longer need. Some tiny loss of an innocent perspective. Yesterday’s memories slowly dissolving into the mist.
The lesson however isn’t to grasp too tightly — or to live in fear of what we’ll lose. Today’s changes lead to tomorrow’s discoveries — and an endless array of new horizons. I often want to freeze some moment with my children — but if that were possible, I still may be crawling around my childhood home, my parents themselves willing time to stop.
Sometimes always and forever does happens for the last time — and I’m learning to be at peace with that. To cherish each moment — but to hold on loosely. To enjoy the metamorphosis — and even their faltering, uncertain steps toward autonomy that serve as stark reminders that we can’t hold on to them forever.