My Mom said something this weekend that really stuck with me. She said that this season of life, parenting young children, goes by too fast, and it can go by even faster if we are too busy and too distracted to take in every moment. TV, activities, housework, errands and all the other urgent things of life can take our focus away from the things we’ll miss the most: their cute habits, their curiosity, their words, their play… everything that makes up who they are and everything that defines childhood in all its slow-paced, joyful wonder.
Micah definitely doesn’t have any problem living in the moment. In fact, tonight I remarked to Eric that Micah is always bound to the present moment and all its emotions, good or bad. Whether that means being overcome by the anxiety of hunger or the pain of a bump on the head or the hilarity of his mom blowing raspberries on his belly, Micah only lives in the present. He only knows what he feels right now and he feels it and knows it to the fullest. It’s easy to upset him terribly, then again, it’s always easy to distract him from his misery with something new and exciting. He can shift from sobs to laughter and back to sobs in seconds.
(Tangent: As adults, I think we should continue to focus on the moment as we did when we were children, but with an anchor dropped firmly in the presence of God. Though we should take everything in with full appreciation, absorbing all the details, we should also resist the urge to let our emotions be ruled by our present circumstances. We have an awareness of what is beyond the here and now, and even more than that, we have the knowledge that our loving Father is in control and has our best interests at heart. Hunger shouldn’t terrorize us when we know of God’s promise to provide. Pain shouldn’t cripple us when we look up to see God’s open arms reaching out to comfort our souls. Fear shouldn’t keep us from living when we stand before a God that is much bigger than even our biggest enemy.)
So today I crawled with him on the floor and looked at everything he looked at. I watched his expressions closely and wondered what was going on behind those deep blue eyes with the endless eyelashes. I left the TV off and listened to him babble all day. I noticed that his chatter is beginning to sound a lot like our conversations – as though he was narrating everything he was doing. After his nap, I took him for a walk along the river and watched his reactions to everything. I tried to take note of what caught his interest the most. (People, ducks.)
I began to realize that this cute little baby I’ve come to love so much over the past year is so much more than a pair of dimples, tiny feet, a fuzzy round head and high pitched-squeals. He is a man. Maybe not now… but he will be. He is a full fledged person that God created, with his own life ahead of him. He was a part of me once, he is so close to me now, but he is separate from me, with his own personality, quirks, hangups, talents, passions and tendencies. That realization has driven me to really get to know him in his own right. I want to resist the urge to project my own experiences, expectations and emotions on him, and instead help him to discover his own identity. We can learn about who he is, what he likes and doesn’t like, what he wants to do… together.
I’ve been living milestone to milestone, but as his first birthday approaches, I want to continually remind myself to enjoy every moment with him. I know that in the blink of an eye, I’ll be passing on my mom’s advice when he discovers himself holding his own child. Take it slow, it goes by fast. Stay home, turn off the TV. Enjoy each other.