Sentimental Mess

It’s so trite, but it’s so true.

Time flies.

My kids are growing up faster than I can keep up.  They surprise me with their moments of comprehension and maturity.  They enrage me with their attitude and intentional disobedience.  They confuse me with their quirky preferences and distinct personalities.  But most of all, they make my heart ache as I see that they are changing and evolving quicker than I can capture in words or pictures.

Try as I might, I can’t make time slow down.  I take photos.  I take videos.  I make photobooks.  I have two journals, one for each of them, in which I write down the funny things they say.  I have a thanksgiving journal, in which I jot down a quick blurb of gratitude for each day’s simple pleasures.  I have even started to jot down the obnoxious comebacks that Smartypants throws at me.  Even those have become ironically treasured.

The worst symptom of all this sentimentality:  Whenever I see something that reminds me of my children when they were little babies, my voice turns into this high-pitched squeaky thing gushing with drippy nostalgia.  It makes Smartypants wince, literally.  Like nails on a chalkboard.

I don’t want to go back in time.  Really.  I do not miss those newborn days at all.  I don’t really need to hold my kids as little babies again.  Each day forward, in marriage and parenthood, has been sweeter than the last.  And yet, I just want to sit right here for a moment and press the pause button.  I don’t know what I would do within that pause, other than twiddle my thumbs.  How could I possibly savor life any more?  How could I possibly embrace my kids any harder?

I suppose I simply wish I could remember it all with crisp clarity.  I wish I could automatically download each day’s megabytes of memories for safekeeping, but I suppose that would also defeat the point of why memories are precious in the first place.

Time can’t be stopped, but the memories worth keeping do survive, even if they dwindle to nothing more than a hazy warm glow.  The relentless march of time is precisely what makes the blessings of the past so sweet and priceless.  It teaches me what is ultimately valuable and important in retrospect, and it reminds me what a miraculous gift every new day is.  It makes me say “I love you” a little more often.

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