The other night, Moose snuggled into my arms in the rocking chair and declared that he wanted to see pictures of “the baby”. To be honest, it took some sussing out, as at nearly four he is still not always a wordsmith. Through a wrinkled brow and patient questioning, it was determined that the baby he wanted to view was himself. Thank Heavens for modern technology and apps with abundant storage. To Google Photos we went!
Unfortunately, I didn’t know about said app until he was nearly two. All photos and videos before about his 18th month of life are carefully stored in several places, though none of which are accessible via my phone at this point. As I type this, I realize I should correct this oversight. However, for the purpose of today’s musings, that is not pertinent.
So there we sat, my big, little Moose crushing my leg with his bony knee, filling the room with his laughter and chatter as he scrolled through photos of his younger self. To his delight, smattered between the countless still documentations of his antics were videos. Brilliant displays of his superb dance moves and love of Golden Girls. Evidence of his complete lack of coordination (he’s definitely mine). Transcripts of the beginnings of his grasp of language- also one of my favorite moments caught in time. My memory of his inability to pronounce “please” flooding back. Within moments, I was brought back to the current time. My dear, sweet Moose, whom is remarkably good at staying within the linguistic boundaries I have set forth, tried out a new phrase he had heard in a couple of the clips. With a bit of mischievous curiosity, he gazed upon me and said “two shits”. Yup! There you have it guys, mother of the year. Because how did I respond to said transgression? I laughed. A big, from the toes, hearty sort of laugh. Then we revisited the conversation of grown up words. His telltale chin crinkle gave me warning of the tears that could be imminent. I assured him he wasn’t in trouble, as he didn’t know. Next time would be a different story. This appeased him and we went back to scrolling down memory lane.
People are never remiss to botch an opportunity to inform me that I need to cherish this time with Moose. That it’s just so fleeting. I have not been unaware of this reality. I watch him in awe daily, trying to cement the memories of his love via the magical device I carry in my pocket. My habit of archiving these snippets of time via photographs and videos is not merely because he is so damn cute. Though he is, rest assured. It’s because I know how quickly life can change. Not only due to his rapid trajectory toward adulthood, but for a myriad of other reasons. The concept of time being fleeting is not lost on me.
It is difficult some days to keep my mind from wandering. To hold it in the present and not project to when he is a teen; full of angst and disdain for his parental overlord keeping him from “fun”. I am unsure of what the transition will look like. Now, he is the toddler that cherishes my presence to such a degree that when I excuse myself to use the “potty” he always replies instantly with “can I come wif you?”. The sweetness of this little man wanting to accompany me on whatever adventure- large or mundane- coupled with his current inability to pronounce a “th” sound. What man will he be transforming into in ten years?
Not only am I witnessing the swift acceleration through his childhood- sometimes I think I can see him gaining height before my eyes- but I am also aging. It’s interesting to view the passage of time as an adult, as you begin collecting multiple benchmarks which to observe said passage.
As of this week, I have oficially completed another revolution around the sun. I am yet another year older. An occurance that does not bother me. But I now type this as a thirty five year old woman. A woman that still refers to my little brother and sister as kids- which they are not. They are twenty four and fully ensconced in adulthood. But to me, I see them at the beginning of their journey. A perspective shift from my own declarations of that era. I digress.
As my 35th birthday has concluded, I have determined one thing- the thirties are weird. You hear throughout your twenties that your thirties will be the best time of your life. An exciting proposition as you are trudging through your first attempts at being an adult. It’s a beacon. A light at the end of a confusing tunnel. A beautiful mirage to chase.
As I am settling into the mid-point of my thirties, I have determined that they are bonkers. My body- nor my mind- seem to have any inkling as to what is going on. I have grey hair and wrinkles, yet I am still adorned with acne periodically. I have the responsibility of caring for a tiny human that is entirely dependent on me yet I get crushes like a teenager. Consequently, some of the communication styles from the other sex are just as juvenile. Though I embrace my uniqueness in a way I never did prior to my third decade, I feel the same level of social awkwardness. Some of the same insecurities. Along with new ones that have emerged. Joy.
I’m not sure that my thirties have been the best time of my life- at least not in the way I anticipated. Maybe through my limited viewpoint, when people exclaim how much they loved their thirties, they don’t mean it quite the way I interpreted. I think my hope conjured the idea of a decade refuge from complication, heartbreak. This has clearly not been the case, given the turmoil of the last several years. However, the turbulence experienced has brought things I am not sure I could have ever imagined. Self acceptance. Dare I say it, a bit of confidence. A career I not only love, but I am hella good at. And a unique ability to create a home. A safe place to land for myself and my son. A place we can cry without judgement. Apologize without punishment. Learn together who we want to be and how the hell we navigate getting there. My thirties have brought me my best roll yet- mother. I must say, I am kind of a rock star. I mostly gauge this by the incredible person my tiny human is becoming.
35 feels like I am sitting at the peak of the roller coaster. I am unsure what the remainder of the decade will bring. The car hasn’t teetered enough yet to see the tracks. I am confident that it will bring more rough patches. More laughter. A point that my Moose will become too large to perform acrobatics with. The continuation of kissing scraped knees and conversations about “grown-up words”. Big feelings from both Moose and I. Beyond that, I have enjoyed discontinuing the habit of trying to predict the future. The life we are living is one I never anticipated. One I thought I never wanted- yet, I am the happiest I have ever been. It seems, I don’t always know what is best for me. Thank God.