I had some time to myself yesterday, my husband took the kids out to the mall then to visit his family. So I decided to tackle a project I've been saving for when I had a few hour chunk of time- organizing and preparing pictures of our little guy since his birth. We are really a photo-album type of family (I know. We are practically dinosaurs). So as I dug around memory sticks and computer files I had a chance to review our life, and Sophie's development over the past 17 months.
Pictures are good reminders of things you forget (stated Ms. Obvious). They're just there, snapshot of time. Whenever I look at pictures of Sophie I am struck by how unchanging she is. It's like our life happens around her as she is fixed in time. Essentially, on the outside she doesn't seem to have changed much at all in the past 2 years. She has grown, her body has gotten bigger and more stable, her face leaned out. But behaviourally she is still Soaps- watching Thomas, lounging on her chair. I often think of those photos where there is a subject in focus and the background is a swirl of lights and action indicating being lost in chaos (that's how I interpret them anyway). Or sci-fi shows in which a character is living at a different speed of time than everyone else (Star Trek Voyager had a great episode which had their ship get stuck in orbit of a planet with a different rate of time than the rest of the galaxy. While their ship was being repaired for 3 weeks, they witnessed the planet undergo thousands of years of civilization. My favourite episode). Sophie is kind of existing in a parallel universe at a slower rate of time.
It is never more apparent than when viewing her with the contrast of the seemingly accelerated development speed of her younger brother. First crop of pictures, he is a newborn. Then a chubbier newborn gazing around, waving fists. Then he is grasping, chewing on toys. Then he's sitting up, cruising, crawling, and so on. Now he is running after his older siblings and insisting on being included in their games. In comparison, Sophie is static next to him- sitting, watching, sucking fingers... Here she is 2, here 2.5, now 3.5... Same old Soaps.
|Sophie through the past year. Happiness, love, timeless, eternal ,|
When I was pregnant with her, my third (and we thought last, ha!) baby, I kept saying that I will cherish every moment of her babyhood. My older daughter was a lot like my youngest, always eager to grow up, reach the next level, be "big". I felt cheated out of her babyhood in a way, it felt as if I blinked and she was a big, capable girl all of a sudden. I thought maybe it was my fault, in my harried state I forgot to be mindful, in the moment, savouring those fleeting stages. And so when I found out another girl is on the way, I thought this was my chance to redeem myself. "I will cherish every week, I will record every milestone. I will be present for it all". And yes I did enjoy the first year and a half immensely. Sophie was the most beautiful, lovely-dispositioned baby on the planet. Like a gift from angels, almost otherworldly. I savoured every nursing, every diaper change, every cuddle with my life size doll-baby.
When she was slow to reach milestones I didn't worry. I thought it was part of the gift, an extended babyhood because that is what I wanted. Many mothers of several kids told me stories of how their youngest forever remained a "baby". And that is what I thought it would be- Sophie would develop slower, be a baby longer and what a lovely way to wrap up my mothering tenure!
The rest is history, it's been recorded in these pages as it happened. This post isn't about what would've been. It is about what it is- a little girl, existing in the present, living each day same as the one before and the one yet to come. A real life Peter Pan... minus the evil pirates.
We don't know what her future holds. She isn't completely static, she is inching along ever so slowly. She is learning PECS, playing her Thomas game on the ipad. But it seems her unique brain can't hold more than a few skills at a time and needs to drop one to make room for a new one. The most drastic example of this was of course when she stopped talking within a month of learning to walk- was it a coincidence? Perhaps not.
Be careful what you wish for you might just get it. A saying with a haunting truth to it. I said more than once I wanted my baby to remain a baby for longer. And I got a baby who might remain one indefinitely. Or maybe I got a spirit child who is here to teach me lessons of patience, love and simply being present and mindful. And always, the meaning of time. Slow and steady wins the race? She just might. Or maybe there isn't a race at all.
The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.~ C.S. Lewis