Sometimes I find old photographs of my children & my heart aches for the day when they were taken. If I had a time machine, I would go back to the days when they were mine. My children are older now & have little use for me. I am upset for not loving my life more then. I was too busy worrying about dirty dishes, laundry, the damn toys everywhere, finding sippy cups with curdled milk under the couch, the bills, being so so tired. I was too consumed with all those things THAT DIDN’T REALLY MATTER because back then, I didn’t think it would ever end. I was buried under chaos, I remember feeling overwhelmed.
I didn’t think it would ever end. But it did.
I remember when my son opened a birthday gift on his first birthday. It was a Rottweiler stuffed dog from my brother & his wife. You would have thought the dog was real from the look of pure, unbridled joy on my son’s face. His mouth opened in happiness, then the dimples appear– he took that dog & pulled him to his chest & snuggled him in deep. My son named him Birf-day Dog. My son didn’t put Birf-day Dog down for three years. He would bring him to every show & tell day…it drove his teacher’s crazy! I grew to love that dog. He brought my son comfort & companionship. If we left him anywhere, we would drive back in a panic, as though we had left behind one of own children. He certainly was a family member. My son had a real dog. A Siberian Husky named Blue.
At the age of two, my son thought he was the Batman. For his 3rd birthday I painted Batman, with Birf-day Dog hanging from the utility belt, along with Batman’s driver’s license with a tiny picture of my son.
The first photograph is my son carrying a Cougar. My son traded Birf-day dog for the Cat when he was four. He carried that cat around for about a year. I grew to love him too. I miss those animals. They are still here. Twice a year we collect toys & clothes we’ve outgrown. Every year my son gives away more & more of his toys & stuffed animals. But in his closet, above his hanging clothes, he has a shelf. This shelf holds his bedding & snuggled among all that softness are Birf-day Dog & the Cat.
My children belonged to me once. My barnacles. I had the audacity to be annoyed with them for hanging about my neck. I wore out the words, “GO PLAY!!!” They are growing up into people. I am proud of these people we are raising. Looking back, i understand the process. I was to snuggle & hold them tight & teach them…& then let them go.
Time is a bit mean, isn’t it?