Being a parent is like mourning death and celebrating life every single day. Yes, we all change and evolve with time but nowhere is that more evident than with children. I know comparing it to death may seem a bit dramatic but just think about it.
Every time I look back through old pictures or videos of my kids I feel a gut punch and then this longing ache for those moments. Those kids, those moments are gone. Those people that they used to be are no more. The giggling innocence of gummy smiles and the high pitched voices of tipsy toddlers, they are gone. The pull of want for one more newborn night of preciousness is countered by the joy of watching my 12 week old baby smile and wiggle and take his place in our family.
I don’t want it to end and yet I often pray for it to be over. The paradox of parenting. I watch them every day. And every night that person falls into sleep and never returns. Each day they are new, they have grown, they are different. Each morning they are altered by the cumulative experiences of the days before. They are incrementally becoming the people they will be for life. They are setting their course of being. Each experience is molding and shaping who they will be and how they will interact with the world. Every single moment counts.
Living in the moment is a cliche. I can enjoy these days as much as humanly possible but there will always be the children in the past. The memory that slips away, lost in a sea of mundane everydayness. Those are the moments I mourn. These fleeting seconds of simplicity. A baby picking up a blueberry and looking at it with wonder. A toddler learning to express himself with language. My baby girl picking me flowers every single time she goes outside. All those things fade into oblivion with the rise of the moon and the closing of our eyes.
Don’t get me wrong, I love everything about this stage of life. I think that’s what wrecks my heart. I know I will yearn for these days. I know as we all age together I’ll look back and wish I hadn’t been so snappy or wish I had taken more videos to catch glimpses into what once was. I’ll wish I had more time, that each day had been longer. I love this life and with that intense love comes severe pain.
Each day we live and each day we die and that is the sincere beauty of it all. The tide that brings us in also takes us away.