I’ve been hoarding memories lately. Any chance I get a quiet, one on one moment with one of my sons, I find myself reflecting on when they were babies. I try my best to draw forth the feel of their perfect skin or the scent of their soft blonde hair.
I say “try my best” because I can’t remember anything chronologically. Images come to me in waves: my first son, Connor, at seven months, splashing in the lime green pool on our deck with his blue eyes squinted against the sun, or sitting in his high chair and pushing his chubby fists together to sign “more” to indicate more food. The new discoveries of self-propulsion across our carpet, first rolling to where he wanted to go, then crawling, walking, running, jumping. The bubble feeling of just he and I going for mommy son dates: to the library for sing-a-long, or the swimming pool, or the zoo. There is a magic with the first child, because everything is a first for the parent as well.
And more recent memories of my second son, Nickson; the naps we would take together in my bed when he was brand new, or the vigour with which he devoured new foods, or the quickness with which he would pick up a new skill. He did everything faster than his brother. He crawled at 5 months, walked by 10. My ability to keep up with two mobile little humans adjusted accordingly. By default of being the second and not really being a cuddler anyway, I can count on two hands the number of times that Nickson has fallen asleep in my arms in his 18 months, with each time feeling like a victory. If Nickson does happen to fall asleep on me I am hyper sensitive to the little breaths he takes, the feel of his round tummy as it rises and falls against my own, the texture of his fine sunshine hair as it sifts through my fingers, the baby soap and sweaty smell of little boy, and the assertion to myself that I will always, always remember that moment.
It’s a fib I tell myself. I can’t remember it all. Photos help and videos are even better. And I am thankful I live in a time where there are devices at the ready to record a moment, even though I have to be mindful of also living in the moment and putting said devices down. With a full time job, the logistics of picking up the kids and making meals, a bit of a side job, the demands of keeping up with laundry and cleaning the house on the regular, ensuring that I pay proper attention to my husband and myself, along with keeping the kids occupied and not fighting, life seems very very busy.
On particularly tough days when Connor is having a melt down about the shoes he wants to wear or Nickson is fighting having his diaper changed right as we need to leave the house, I repeat the mantra “This too shall pass.” And it does. Without me even noticing sometimes. But when I have quiet moments with the kids, I know with certainty that it goes by too fast. And all I can do for now is hold on and try my best to remember as much as possible.