Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Peregrine, my firstborn, is going to be four soon. It's hard to believe, and I, like so many other parents, can't help repeating "they just grow up so fast." He keeps me busy with his antics, keeps me busy making food to satisfy his hunger, keeps me busy carrying on long conversations about anything and everything. He drinks in stories like water and then talks about them and plays different characters all day long. He can articulate things pretty well, and sometimes I forget that his level of maturity is not as developed as his vocabulary. But for all his growing up and wanting to explore his world and go on adventures, sometimes he still likes to cuddle up with me in the rocking chair. There is a catch though, and that is I have to pretend that he's my "tiny baby", and coo at him and stroke his cheeks and remark on how small he is. He loves to hear the story of when he was born and he pretends that he's that brand new baby again; I exclaim "we got our boy" and he blinks his dark eyes at me and I touch his dark hair and he makes little baby noises.
And every time we "play" this, I'm brought back to that moment when we first saw him, how taken we were with every bit of this new life, how he stopped crying at the sound of Erik's voice, how small and vulnerable he was. It's easy to forget sometimes, that he is still small and vulnerable. I can no longer hold him in my arms like I could when he was newborn, but in many ways he still needs the same care and protection he did then. On the other hand, he is growing and developing into a unique person who will have his own relationship with God and with the world around him.
When we play "baby" all too soon he gets restless and starts to say in a very squeaky little voice "mama, mama" and before I know it he's squirmed off my lap and learned how to walk and is once more running off to fight some dragon or be the captain of an imaginary ship. It's not unlike real life; I would be content to hold this baby for a lot longer, but he's ready to run off and have adventures of his own. It's a good reminder to me, because before I know it the adventures will move from the realm of the living room out into the "real" world; he is growing every day into the man he is going to be, and someday he really will be the captain of his own ship, so to speak. I need to make the most of the time I'm given to mold and nurture and play with and teach and train this precious little one. I have to remember that there will be another season in life for doing some of the things I want to do and just don't have time or energy for right now. And when that season comes I'll enjoy it, but I'm sure I'll look back on this time and miss the story-books and building forts and sword-fighting and watching with joy as my small, busy children discover the world around them. And I'll probably almost forget the tiredness and the stinky diapers and the projects that never got done.