If you sit on the couch with them while watching a program, you can catch it. The view from the side. The profile view. These two kids who, when head on are adorable and challenging and funny and just spitting images of you and your mate, look like completely different kids. It’s amazing what you see when you have a different view.
I catch them sometimes when they aren’t looking, which isn’t easy. They always want to see you seeing them. And they are too good not to see so I happily oblige. But this side view. This profile view. This view of the kids you might not even recognize at times…..well it’s incredible.
It’s telling of all we have to discover and all they have yet to learn. The possibilities are endless. Like when you explain something to them and they pause and you can almost truly see the wheels turning in their giant brains trying to decipher what you’ve said and make out if it could be true, when OF COURSE IT IS TRUE. Mommy told us so it must be true and then you hear, OKAY MAMA and you crumple onto the floor again into shards of yourself once again.
This view from the side will only increase as time moves forward, ever marching on without our having any say in the matter. Time is perfect. We are exactly where we are supposed to be in this moment. So don’t miss it. It’s right there in front of us. To the side of us. Right next to us. Don’t miss it.
This view from the side will become more familiar as they begin their way in the world with more them and less us and more others and less us and more activities and less us and when we are used to the us all the time for every single thing, it feels as though a layer is being stripped off and we are bare.
Will they be okay will they be safe will they make good choices will they be kind seems to play on a loop in my head. The answer to this question is yes. Sometimes. And many other times no.
This view from the side is new to me as I’ve been their everything for all this while and now I’m beginning to see that they are looking elsewhere at times. They don’t need me for breastmilk any longer. They know that other people can care for them and care well and fully.
They don’t require me to fulfill their every need anymore. When they were newborns I longed for this day. I wouldn’t go back to newborn babies for all the money in the world. And while every day right now is perfection, because nothing has been better than chatting with these two little monsters who understand far more than I would have ever guessed two year olds could understand, I can feel the sand slipping between my toes. As I clean the sand from their feet and their little hands, I notice not nearly as many folds and crevices to clean from. Less than yesterday.
Today is my favorite. Until tomorrow.
Just another reminder that today is perfect. Today is everything. Even on bad days this is the best it’s ever been. Nothing will be better than walking to the park and the singing and the conversations that we have right now.
My biggest challenge is suppressing a smile when I’m trying to discipline. When I sit on the floor of their room and wait while they clean up their books, I try not to make eye contact with them because it’s all over. My boy with his charming glimmer in his eye trying to catch mine as he asks, “OKAY MAMA? OKAY? OKAY MAMA?” and I cave and fall to pieces again and again because I know this moment is now. This moment will never come again and we are in it, dammit.
So we hug. And I hold onto those hugs as long as they let me and sometimes longer because they are everything.
It’s no wonder I cry all the time as this is the stuff dreams are made of.
I used to sit and watch that show, “A Baby Story” on TLC years ago when I was drinking. I would watch it at a friend’s house in the morning, like 8am in the morning, with their orange juice and find whatever booze they had on hand (they tried to hide it from me but that never worked) and I remember the amaretto was particularly foul, but it did the trick. I would watch “A Baby Story” and cry my eyes out at these stories that seemed so far out of my reach. So far out of my scope of possibility that it may as well have been fiction. That time in my life was filled with complete and utter despair on every level. But I wasn’t ready yet. I was still viewing from the side.
I was viewing life from the side. I wasn’t facing it head on. Today I know better than to look from the side. I get right in there. I go after it. I don’t wait for permission. I grab it.
And sometimes, just sometimes, I enjoy the view from the side. To sit back and enjoy the view knowing that this is my choice is a much different thing than feeling like it was my only option.
It’s good to view life from every angle. Even from behind. WINK.
It’s just better to know that we aren’t stuck with just one sightline. Full on. Rear facing. Forward facing. Not missing a damn thing. No more. I am in this for the 3D version and nobody is going to tell me to stop or do it differently or get over it or should me. This is it. Soak it all in. It’s a good thing I look so damn fine in these 3D panoramic goggles.
It’s not about how you do it or when you do it, it’s about doing it. Love. As my brave friend says, love hard. Every day. Don’t wait.
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