Not ready

by Wolf Pascoe on October 18, 2010

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Once, when he was only 500 days old, I remember he stood next to me where I was sitting on the living room rug and we hugged. Just hugged. And I thought, well, he’s a toddler now, not a baby anymore, that baby is all gone, but at least we can still do this.

I leaned into the hug and took a deep breath of it and let it fill me and it was perfect. Still perfect. And then I realized: I’m not ready for him to move on. And then I lost it. Slow down, I thought. Slow down, Nick. I’m just not ready to move on.

That was 2400 days ago.

Up until he was five or six, he believed in fairies. We have a patch of Nasturtium growing wild in the front yard. Nora calls them “volunteers.” The leaves are good for salads, also for hiding fairies. Nick and I would sit ourselves down and call to them there, even though we couldn’t see them. Sometimes they’d answer.

He’s eight now, and wants to be a teenager. He told me so this evening when we came in from our walk.

Then he said, “Will you read to me tonight?”

Usually Nora reads at bedtime, and Nick and I listen. But lately I’ve been claiming a couple of nights a week. I want to read him Tom Sawyer because I think he’d love it. But he wants me to read Captain Underpants. Which I do, assuming different voices for all the characters.

“You read very good,” he said when the story was done.

He thought a moment, and said, “I love you, dada.”

He still calls me that. Then he planted a kiss smack on my lips. And I thought, well, he’s not a little boy anymore, that little boy is gone, but at least we’re still doing this. I leaned into the kiss and took a deep breath of it. Still perfect it was.

And I had that thought: I’m not ready. And I lost it again and I wanted to say to him, Nick, please. It’s too fast. There’s maybe only a thousand days of this, this childhood, left. And when it’s done it will all be a dream. So can’t you please just slow down, because I’m not ready for you to move on.

______________

You might like:

This post: In between

And this one: The kids grow up way to fast

And this film:

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Carole Burstein October 18, 2010 at 2:25 am

I love it. This reminds me of so many precious moments I wish I could freeze. As a parent, maybe the hardest thing of all is just this; with all of the challenges and sacrifices there are these jewels… and then, they are memories.

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Wolf Pascoe October 18, 2010 at 2:32 am

Hold on tightly, let go lightly.

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Tim Silver October 18, 2010 at 3:30 am

We must, strictly speaking, at every moment give each other up and let each other go and not hold each other back. Rainer Maria Rilke

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Wolf Pascoe October 19, 2010 at 2:03 am

Two solitudes!

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Sandy Corner October 18, 2010 at 2:27 am

Dada… poppy… fasha… each has only one claimant on the planet. They are meant for me. From mine.

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Wolf Pascoe October 19, 2010 at 2:12 am

Yes. It’s the same when you hug. It’s the whole world.

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David October 18, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Beautiful, Wolf. I can’t bear it. It’s too fast, indeed. This is why if my daughter says “putt” instead of “put” or “kachewzi” instead of “jacuzzi” I will never say a word. It’s only too soon when she’ll say the right word and I’ll only have the memory of that innocent time.

Putt me in the kachewzi…please

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Wolf Pascoe October 19, 2010 at 2:10 am

Thanks, David. I’m so glad you’re a prescriber here.

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BigLittleWolf January 11, 2011 at 3:20 am

This is truly lovely.

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Wolf Pascoe January 11, 2011 at 4:39 am

Check out Big Little Wolf’s post,
Argyles, about letting go of her teen agers.

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Barbara S. January 18, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Thanks for directing me here. Brings back so many memories! You’re right to breathe each moment in because they do soar past. My mother once told me “Don’t be in a hurry to grow up. You’ll be a grownup the rest of your life, but you can never be a child again.” It made an impression on me, and even though there were times I tugged, it served to rein me in and help me slow down. If you want to cry, Read “I’ll love you forever”. Makes me tear up just thinking about it!
Oh, and keep that reading to them thing going until they call it quits. I managed to keep it going till my middle son turned 12 or 13!

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Wolf Pascoe January 18, 2011 at 9:55 pm

I know what you mean about “I’ll Love You Forever.” When it becomes necessary, I’m going to tell Nick what your mother told you.

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