Father's Day: Oh, The Places We've Been - And Will Go
My grandmother had a saying about being a parent. She would often remark that, “The days are long, but the years are short.”
Naturally, I had no idea what she meant until about four years ago, when my wife and I had our first child. He was born right around Father’s Day. Our daughter was born around the same time last year.
That timing, by the way, pretty much ensures my wife will never have to get me another Fathers’ Day present. Ever.
Since both of our kids celebrate their birthdays around this time of year, it has become kind of an annual tradition for me to look through old photos and videos — often smiling, sometimes shaking my head and occasionally tearing up.
I mean, come on. When our son met his brand-new baby sister he said, "This is a really nice baby sister. I really like your baby sister, mommy."
I watch that and look at the pictures of my son and me gazing at the newborn in her bassinet in that hospital room, with the same look of wonder on our faces. It’s pretty amazing.
I can only imagine what was going through his mind at that moment. I’m guessing it was very different than what was going through mine. I was thinking about how I was going to care for and protect this baby. His thoughts probably focused more on ice cream.
And I am happy to report they continue to be best friends.
I try to cherish these moments and store them away in my mind. I’m hoping to be able to draw on those memories in a few years, when the two of them are inevitably sniping at each other in the back seat.
It’s just crazy to think about what changes in kids over the course of a year. Our 1-year-old has gone from basically a helpless lump to someone who seems to have favorite foods (cheese and peas, if you’re curious), who can get around on her own and smiles and laughs at appropriate times.
I know I’m biased, but I could listen to that all day.
Our 4-year-old has gone from kind of understandable to calling me at work to tell me knock-knock jokes.
Or, how about this. A few weeks ago on the night before his fourth birthday, for his bedtime story he picked “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.” I had a little trouble getting through that one.
I can’t help but wonder what’s next. I know there’s some amazing stuff to come, but I also know that’ll likely replace things I’ve really come to love. Like how when you tickle my daughter, she buries her head in my shoulder and snuggles in tight. Or how when I ask my son if he’s ready to go to sleep or wants me to cuddle with him in his big-boy bed, he answers “cuddle, please.”
I know one day he’ll kick me out. And I know one day my daughter will ask me to stop tickling her. And I know those will be good things, but it’ll still be sad.
I’ll miss those sounds of laughter and winding down the day. But when that happens, I’ll try to keep my son’s advice in my head.