All you remember about your child being an infant is the
incredible awe you felt about the precious miracle you created. You remember
having plenty of time to bestow all your wisdom and knowledge. You thought your
child would take all of your advice and make fewer mistakes, and be much smarter
than you were. You wished for your child to hurry and grow up.
All you remember about your child being two is never using the
restroom alone or getting to watch a movie without talking animals. You recall
afternoons talking on the phone while crouching in the bedroom closet, and being
convinced your child would be the first Ivy League1 college student to graduate
wearing pullovers2 at the ceremony. You remember worrying about the bag of M＆M's
melting in your pocket and ruining your good dress. You wished for your child to
be more independent.
All you remember about your child being five is the
first day of school and finally having the house to yourself. You remember
joining the PTA3 and being elected president when you left a meeting to use the
restroom. You remember being asked "Is Santa real?" and saying "yes" because he
had to be for a little bit longer. You remember shaking the sofa cushions for
loose change4, so the toothfairy5 could come and take away your child's first
lost tooth. You wished for your child to have all permanent teeth.
All you remember about your child being seven is the carpool6
schedule. You learned to apply makeup in two minutes and brush your teeth in the
rearview mirror1 because the only time you had to yourself was when you were
stopped at red lights. You considered painting your car yellow and posting a
"taxi" sign on the lawn next to the garage door. You remember people staring at
you, the few times you were out of the car, because you kept flexing2 your foot
and making acceleration3 noises. You wished for the day your child would learn
how to drive.
All you remember about your child being ten is managing the school
fundraisers. You sold wrapping paper for paint, T shirts for new furniture, and
magazine subscriptions4 for shade trees in the school playground. You remember
storing a hundred cases of candy bars in the garage to sell so the school band
could get new uniforms, and how they melted together on an unseasonably5 warm
spring afternoon. You wished your child would grow out of playing an instrument.
All you remember about your child being twelve is sitting in the
stands6 during baseball practice and hoping your child's team would strike out7
fast because you had more important things to do at home. The coach didn't
understand how busy you were. You wished the baseball season would be over soon.
All you remember about your child being fourteen is being asked
not to stop the car in front of the school in the morning. You had to drive two
blocks further and unlock the doors without coming to a complete stop. You
remember not getting to kiss your child goodbye or talking to him in front of
his friends. You wished your child would be more mature.
All you remember about your child being sixteen is loud music and
undecipherable8 lyrics9 screamed to a rhythmic beat. You wished for your child
to grow up and leave home with the stereo.
All you remember about your child being eighteen is the day they
were born and having all the time in the world.
And, as you walk through your quiet house, you wonder where they
went and you wish your child hadn't grown up so fast.