Wednesday, November 2, 2016

I Blinked

Today is my son's seventh birthday.

How did that even happen? Wasn't it just yesterday that I woke up in the middle of the night and realized, "Whoops, that's not pee and those aren't stomach cramps"? Wasn't it just this morning that we were driving along the Charles River, listening to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" on the radio on the way to Massachusetts General Hospital, knowing that in a few hours, we'd have a baby in our arms?

Everyone told me not to do it, but I did. I blinked.

I blinked and suddenly labor was over and there he was, doing a good bit of blinking himself.

I blinked again and they were sending us home. I felt completely unprepared and overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for this tiny (well, not so tiny) and helpless being that I had made. But I wasn't alone.

It was still a struggle at times, but we got through. We got through the sleepless nights, the refusals to nurse, the 4pm fussies. We lived for those sweet smiles and gurgles and grabby fingers.

We blinked again and our little blob had turned into an alert and curious baby.

One more blink and he was a busy toddler, racing around, looking at everything, asking questions and not waiting for answers.

I blinked again and he was off to preschool, exploring and learning more and making more friends.

He got to do several years of preschool, and was soon joined by his little sister. And we got all theatrical together. 

Before I knew it (I guess I blinked again), preschool was over and we were ready for kindergarten - homeschool kindergarten, that is.

The year flew by (more blinking!) and off he trotted to first grade in public school. He never blinked when he got on the school bus for the first time. But I sure did.

And now (blink, blink) he's seven. SEVEN!

I can only imagine how he will have changed when I blink again. I have to remind myself sometimes to see him as he is now, not as I imagine him in my mind's eye. Somehow, whenever I look at him, I see all the layers that he has been: The tall, well-spoken boy he is now; the shy but curious kindergartener he has been; the chatty, fearless toddler he used to be; the small, bright-eyed baby he once was. They are all there, when I look at him; all those slices of time which have created who he is today, and which will all affect who he becomes tomorrow.

Someday, after I've blinked some more, I will be seeing this handsome, sweet 7-year-old underneath layers of sulky tween, gawky teen, and confident young man.

I just hope I can learn to blink a little slower.

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