Fleeting Firsts

25 08 2009

Today is my nephew’s first day of the first grade. The old cliche holds true. It really does seem like just yesterday that he was taking his first steps, saying his first words, and making his way through the whole list of firsts that mark a person’s first couple years of life. I feel simultaneously sad and wistful and elated and proud. On the one hand, he made it this far, and is excelling along the way. He’s smart and thoughtful and kind and just an all around great person. On the other hand, today is fleeting, just like every other day that marked a first in his life. Soon it will be over, and he will never again have a first day of the first grade.

It makes me ponder Azita’s life. Every day that she does something new I mourn the loss of what she was before. She will never again be a little slip of a thing sleeping contently in my arms, unable to crawl away. I once told my sister that I couldn’t wait for Azita to crawl. She said, “It is so cute and exciting when they start crawling, but then they can crawl away from you.” She’s never been so right. For every time Azita crawls towards me, there are twice as many moments when she crawls away from me. And, every time I think that before I know it I’ll be driving her to college, and my heart breaks a little. I’m not sure how I will be able to stand it. (And, I’m really, really hoping she’s not one of those super genius children who go off to college at 8 years old.)

I wrote before about how Roger and I never really considered becoming parents until recently. When we did decide we needed Azita in our lives, we were very committed to being parents to an only child. Then Azita was born, and Roger was (and is) still very committed. I can’t say my resolve is as firm. Every day that Azita blazes through a milestone, I feel like I’m not ready yet to give up who she was the day before. Maybe I didn’t appreciate enough those moments when she was a newborn or before she moved on to solid foods or began crawling. I want them back. Now I know why people have more than one child. Dare I say it? I can almost understand why people have a large number of children. They are forever trying to make the past stick around for a while.

Sometimes I wish life was simpler, and I could be one of those people.

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