"Everyone, the midwife, the woman at Target, my friends, they all said it, with a reminiscent, knowing smile, 'enjoy this time, it goes by so fast.'"
I am watching Charlie doing the moves to “Santa wear your shorts” it is the night of his Kindy concert, I’m smiling and laughing and then suddenly I am holding back tears I didn’t even realise I was holding on to.
I hold my breath and suddenly I am remembering when he was a newborn, a time when advice, solicited or not, came in all forms and from all directions. Everyone, the midwife, the woman at Target, my friends, they all said it, with a reminiscent, knowing smile, “enjoy this time, it goes by so fast.”
He is singing and dancing and watching me from the makeshift stage and then in another breath, I was back in that moment when I wondered if we would ever meet and feared we would not.
“Santa wear your shorts tonight” he continues….
Bloody hell, they were right. It goes by so fast
This week he finishes Kindy. The last few months, I have been off balance. Some large and complex recruitment projects at work have meant I’ve been on autopilot. Juggling work, filling out Prep paperwork, attending Prep orientations, buying school uniforms. In the midst of getting ready for Charlie starting school next year and not being present in the moment, he is suddenly finishing Kindy this week and the realisation has just come. A milestone I very nearly missed had it not been for the Kindy concert.
Asking questions. Asking questions is a normal part of life – but try to resist asking one after the other. Sometimes it is more helpful to comment on what your child has said and wait.
Enjoy the moment, it goes by so fast, they say.
I was always going to be the mum on the first day of school that shamelessly ugly cries as I kiss my son’s sweet face and watch him, swamped in navy blue, head off to his first day of school.
I did not expect to be the mum crying at the Kindy concert.
We have a lifetime of concerts, sports days, book weeks and carnivals ahead of us. Clearly, I am going to need to build some resilience to these moments lest I become known as that mother who is always fishing around in her bag looking for a tissue. Since he is our one child, I am acutely aware that every first is also every last. He is my first child finishing Kindy, he is my last child at Kindy. His first day of school will be our only first day and so the memory is even more profound.
I’m watching him and he is now dancing and twirling to Pop Bang Crack. He is watching me closely, wide-eyed and proud.
In a blink of an eye he is growing up and so all I can do is hope for a future where he will be happy and in the inevitable moments that he isn’t, I hope he will always be optimistic. That he will still see the blue sky even when it is a muddy grey. I hope he will always be the same kind and sensitive boy that I am watching now and that he will also be that feisty and fearless boy who is curious and questioning. I don’t want him to be one of the cool kids, I want him to know it’s better to be one of the warm people. I want him to grow up and be brave enough to challenge the status quo but I also want him to grow up wanting what he wants, not because of the influence of his helicopter mother.
Talk about what it means to be a good person. Start early: When you read bedtime stories, for example, ask your toddler whether characters are being mean or nice and explore why.
The concert ends and now the children are having a disco with flashing star wands. The air is warm and there is so much joy and laughter, I want to bottle it, as these friends are wildly running, chasing, spinning. Celebrating a childhood that they are almost oblivious to because it is the only thing they know. It is an enormous responsibility and a privilege to raise a child, I try to not think too hard about this for fear that somewhere along the way I might be screwing it up. Charlie brings so much happiness and yet he should not be responsible for this, I would never want him to feel that kind of burden. But the joy he brings is true and good and it is a bit like sprinkles on a sundae.
Parents are watching on and I’m wondering if they too are aware that in the relentless pull of time this will just be another tiny juncture in a lifetime of moment and memories. One that we should try not to take for granted because it is indeed true, it goes by so fast.