Parenthood, the Bastion of Time

I have a handful of memories from my childhood, some of them I’ve recently learned are not actual memories but a fabrication of my imagination. Jack is approaching the second grade, and I can’t help but remember the summer that I turned seven and moved across the country to begin a new life in California, beginning the second grade in a new school. My own memories are short blips of days, situations or moments often pertaining to nothing incredibly poignant. I often go back to one in particular in which I am walking home from somewhere, school most likely, passing under the shade of a tree and watching my feet fall in unison one before the other. I wondered what I would look like as a grown-up, if I would have children, would I be pretty? Big things were happening in my life at that time, and yet my thoughts landed on growing up and my complete and utter desperation to do so. I can’t remember a time that I absolutely could not wait to be a woman, with that magnificent independence.

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August 2013

Jack and Zoe celebrated their last days of first grade and Kindergarten yesterday. I woke up early to prepare their breakfasts of choice-I never make two different things, but yesterday I obliged happily, whipping up pancakes for Zoe and French toast for Jack. Going through the motions and quietly cheering on the fact that we wouldn’t have to rush around for a couple of months, I prepared their snacks, brushed their hair, helped them write cards for their beloved teachers. Jack was a heap of emotions. He left for his last day in tears and I picked them both up appearing a little dazed. These early days of elementary school are such a huge part of their lives-everything really-and it occurred to me that while time is racing by for me as their mother, it’s creeping by moment to moment for them. I’m trying to be as emotionally available for them as I can, and putting myself directly into their dirty little worn out shoes is a key part of that.

But man, sometimes when I look at them it’s as though I haven’t seen them with my own eyes for months… I can barely breathe it’s so overwhelming. I’m terrified and saddened because the days are going so fast and I fear I haven’t absorbed every single second with them, and excited because, well, just look at them. They are brilliant and inquisitive, bright and my goodness they are simply beautiful.

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They brought home all of their school work and journals yesterday, and I spent a quiet hour going through each piece with them. Watching their handwriting progress incredibly from the beginning of the year until the end, and reading stories they told with more and more detail.

Zoe dreams in rainbows, flowers and puppies and loves her little girlfriends tremendously. She wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up.

Jack details his knowledge of sports and marine mammals-a passion that I was until yesterday unaware of. He loves his daddy dearly and he can’t wait for next year so that he can “challenge himself and be smarter.”

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These moments… Even just simply sitting on the couch with them, listening and watching them both show me their school work, the inside of their souls as best as they can describe it, I won’t forget it. No photos needed, no journal documented. It’ll age like golden gooey resin in my mind, the memories that parenthood materializes and becomes as much a part of me as my physical body.

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The challenge, I suppose, is preserving these moments for them as well even though I know that they will and are evolving into themselves.. Now as first and second graders. I just hope-even though I’m personally happy every day to be an adult-that they don’t wish away their childhood too quickly.

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12 Comments

  • Our son is soon to be 18 months *young* and I cannot fathom some days how it is possible for him to look so different to me between the time he goes down for a nap and awakens for an afternoon snack, or when he awakes in the morning and blurts out something new, more closely resembling a new addition to his vocabulary. I appreciate your ability to write with an open heart, and your willingness to share not only the beautiful experiences but also the tenuous or sticky emotions of motherhood, marriage, career ambitions and everyday experiences of being a modern Super-momma. I hope you continue to feel well as your pregnancy progresses. While I’ve only had one pregnancy so far, it was also an extremely pensive growing experience for me.


  • Beautifully written and so universal as it relates to all of us! Especially today as it is my one and only son’s 26th birthday. Second grade was the best of the best year and we remember it like it just happened. You all will have such a wonderful time…as they should. Now four years out of college he continues to surprise me with sensitive moments, memories and stories of what a wonderful time we had.
    Thanks for the post. Best wishes to you and your new addition to the family. (Start Saving for Jack’s college NYU costs a few bucks!)


  • Wow. Just….wow. Tears in my eyes, lump in my throat. You have a way with words.


  • That was very well written, so lovely. I, too, wanted to grow up ever since I could remember. I always wanted to be older, more independent, more in charge – I hear my 8 year old daughter say things like that occasionally, and I hope she enjoys her childhood while she’s still a child 🙂


  • Beautiful post and pictures. Time flies. I’m not a mother, but I’m an Aunt and lover of children and they just don’t stay those ages long enough sometimes! Thanks for sharing! 🙂


  • I have loved your blog and you and your family since I found you. As a fellow mom, a Theo and Beau fanatic, and a first grade teacher (after teaching Kindergarten for 5 years!) I love you even more. The time and effort you put into your family and the love you have for each of your babies is a gift to the world! When you have children you hope to raise healthy, happy, good kids-and you are! The love they have for each other and you and your husband and family is so beautifully apparent to those of us who read your blog. The fact that you sit down and read the journals that we work on at school is so touching that my heart has swollen with gratitude! Thank you for the goodness you share with the world! I am so appreciative! Cherish every moment! Before you know it they will be achieving their dreams and making all of us proud.


  • I’ve been following you for months and only in this post did I realize our two older kids are the same in age. While your kids are now out for the summer, mine still have another week and a half to go due to all the snow days that hit the northern virginia area. My third is 21 months and she is such a handful I can’t even imagine adding a fourth to our family. You are my hero! Looking foward to following your summer adventures. Youth Rugby season has started for us and we are excited for the adventures summer will bring. Cheers! @mahahokids (Instagram) @haily_nguyen (twitter)


  • Absolutely beautiful! I long for those first weeks with Chunks but enjoy the energy filled, dinosaur loving, intellectual he has become and I agree I too hope he loves being a kid for as long as possible. Happy Summer Guys!


  • Perfectly, beautifully written!! The days truly seem long but I cherish every. single. moment. Thank you for putting it into words. xoxoxoxo


  • This paragraph…. “But man, sometimes when I look at them it’s as though I haven’t seen them with my own eyes for months… I can barely breathe it’s so overwhelming. I’m terrified and saddened because the days are going so fast and I fear I haven’t absorbed every single second with them, and excited because, well, just look at them.” – exactly how I feel with my kids right now! We homeschool and sometimes when I see how quickly my daughter (5) is learning and improving at things she used to struggle with, it scares me how quickly she is growing up. I keep picturing her wedding day in my head, imagining what she would look like. Time escapes me!


  • I feel this way too with my daughter who’s entering 2nd grade in the fall. I catch her sometimes looking in the mirror a certain way, having exchanges with her friends that emulate adulthood/parenthood, etc., and sometimes we talk about that time in the future that suddenly feels like it’s careening toward us when she’s a teenager, a college student, a mother. It’s such a gift to watch them grow and become who they’re meant to be, but it stings a little at the same time. You have such a beautiful family.

    Btw, I never, ever do this, but I wrote a post, a “love letter”, for my boys the other day, and reading through your reflections on your kids, I thought you could relate.
    http://joylovelyjoy.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/made-of-stars-a-love-note/

    xLara

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