Wistful With A Dash Of Computer Problems

By Beck

My computer is DYING – I can’t presume that I’ll have more than a few seconds on it before it suddenly flutters off, which makes writing on it more exciting than usual. So while I’m practising my karate kicking on my computer, please enjoy this post from two summers ago.

From some of my earlier posts, you might get the impression that I wistfully regret my children getting older, that my favorite time with them was when they were small babies.

Oh, ha. No.

I’m very GOOD with small babies – I’m laidback and comfortable spending a whole day doing nothing but rocking and nursing some ungrateful little twelve pound human being – but I always felt a sense of monumental and guilt-stricken relief when they turned one. Babies are HARD. And then there was the miserable post-partum depression that I had in varying intensities EVERY SINGLE TIME, which wasn’t much fun. I love my older kids – my eight-year-old daughter, in particular, is such a fun, sensible girl, full of innocent big plans and so kind-hearted and reserved and book-loving that I could not be more pleased with her. I didn’t go into child-raising to make better versions of myself, but if I had, I would be feeling pretty smug right now.

So would I wish her smaller again? Kind of. I’d like a do-over – obviously, however we’ve been raising her is working out very well, but I’d like to go back and hold her on the first day of her life again, full of the love that I have now for her. I would like to go back through her childhood again, and this time be conscious that time was fleeting. I spent so much of her very early years in a sulk, just trying to get through those endless molasses-timed days that I did not really notice that, as the old ladies were constantly warning me, this time would be gone before I noticed.

We used to live in a small city with a nice waterfront and friendly fat ducks that liked to be fed, so one day The toddler Girl and I went down with a bag of stale bread crumbs and threw them onto the water, silver in the sunshine. She was so happy, and I thought to myself that it was such a fun thing to do with her that I should really bring her back more often. And then we never went back again. If I had known that would be the one time we would ever have thrown bread to the ducks, I would have frozen that day in my heart, frozen the image of her toddler hand generously full of bread for the fat swimming ducks, the sound of her laughter. As it is, all I have is the vague memory of pleasure, this fleeting thing that happened one time and then never happened again.

13 Responses to Wistful With A Dash Of Computer Problems
  1. Sandy
    July 9, 2009 | 1:01 pm

    Yep, I find myself longing for the days when I can DO STUFF with Oscar, engage him in real play. Right now he mostly eats, poops, drools, etc. He spends a lot of time in my lap, and thinks he wants to get down, but he can’t even sit up yet. On the other hand, I am trying to savor his babyhood, because I know it goes by fast.

  2. Nowheymama
    July 9, 2009 | 2:01 pm

    “I’d like to go back and hold her on the first day of her life again, full of the love that I have now for her.”

    That’s it exactly, isn’t it?

  3. Kat
    July 9, 2009 | 2:51 pm

    It sounds to me like you did manage to freeze that moment in time. You described it beautifully. 🙂

  4. Louise
    July 9, 2009 | 6:13 pm

    When the old ladies tell me this time will pass before I know it, I want to throw my arms into the air and shout “Hallelujah!” I think kids are like fine wine–they get better with age (and if you have too much of them they can make you a little loopy). As my six-week old screams in her swing because she WON’T GO TO SLEEP and I sent the twenty-month-old to the grocery store with her father just to give me a break, I am eagerly awaiting the days when I can look back on this time with nostalgia. It’s good to know it will happen sometime.

  5. candace
    July 9, 2009 | 8:07 pm

    I love that my son is getting older and even more when potty training is done(we are on week 1). I love that he talks and engages with me now. My husband and I might not have another one because we really dont miss babyhood-sleepless nights, nursing,etc.

  6. Carrie
    July 9, 2009 | 9:45 pm

    Crying here!!! “I’d like to go back and hold her on the first day of her life again, full of the love that I have now for her.” – WOW. YEAH. I feel like I know my son so much better now, and love him even so much more because of that knowledge. I am having another one in December, so I hope I can use my new knowledge to love this one better, but yeah, to go back & do it over…not sure if I would, but I love your statement – great post!

  7. Mozi Esmes Mommy
    July 9, 2009 | 9:52 pm

    How can I feel so split? My girl is 2, and on the one hand, I wish she would grow up faster so I could do more with her, and on the other, I wish I could go back and have a tiny baby again… The present seems like eternity, but the past seems like a flash. I keep reminding myself to enjoy the moments, and I do, but I’m still split.

  8. Erin --It's Your Movie--
    July 9, 2009 | 10:23 pm

    Knowing the Clark that I know now (a very talkative two and a half year old) I look back at certain memories of my baby boy and laugh. Of COURSE he behaved that particular way in that particular situation– he was CLARK. I guess I am just amazed at the people they are created to be. How specifically they are that person from the beginning. I would love to go back and reinterpret my baby boy with this perspective and I imagine that desire will grow stronger as I get to know him better and better.

  9. suburbancorrespondent
    July 10, 2009 | 10:24 am

    If it makes you feel any better, the day wouldn’t have seemed so special had it been repeated. Sad, but true…

    Although I, too, would never want my children to stay babies forever and am very happy to watch them grow up and (starting this summer!) move out, there are moments in my day at this menopausal point of my life when I feel as if I will die of wanting to just squeeze their chubby little 2-year-old bodies once more (oh, those thighs!) and hear their little 2-year-old laughter bubbling up from within them like the fountain of youth. It’s almost killing me.

  10. Jennifer
    July 10, 2009 | 11:59 am

    I love the place where we are now, with a mix of budding young adulthood in one, full-fledged childhood in another, and one more somewhere in between.
    But I think it would be wonderful beyond words to go back and hold those newborns again, with all the knowledge of their personhoods in my heart and all the energy and health that I have today. Newborns are such fleeting treasures – but I was so tired and sick and sore that it was difficult to appreciate it. I just wanted to SLEEP again. 🙂

    I also vaguely remember the twos and threes and how CUTE they were… and how complicated everything seemed. Now I think, “what’s complicated about a 2 year old?” and wonder if I’d enjoy it more if I could go back. The beauty of traveling through time would be that there would be no pressure to “do it right” because they’d already be well-raised in reality, ha ha!

    Maybe grandparenting will be kinda like that. If I’m not too busy doing other things. Because by now I’m pretty sure that I may never quite learn my lessons.

  11. Kristen
    July 13, 2009 | 5:37 am

    Your daughter sounds a lot like my eight year old daughter…I am so proud of her.

    Every night, when I check on her before I sleep, I look at her and I ache with missing that time with her. That time when she was so small. In fact, I wrote the other day about wishing I could live just one of those days all over again…

    This piece you’ve written brings all those emotions right to the surface.

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