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Of Time and Birthdays

January 8, 2011

Not my birthdays.  Those are fictional, since I refuse to acknowledge them.  My kid’s birthdays.  My youngest turned 13.  My beautiful niece commented on Facebook that she’s shocked, it seems like just yesterday that she was born.

Indeed.

My nieces and nephews are all adults now.  In real life, anyway.  In my head, and no doubt in the heads of all my contemporary family members, we look at each of these adults and remember poo exploding from their diapers.  Of wiping butts, and screaming lungs.  Of the boys grabbing their crotch in a death-grip when they have to pee (as opposed to now when they’re trying to hold their ridiculous pants up).

My precious Sammy and Kimmy are wonderful, strong, capable women of whom I am very proud. But I recall when their pjs had trap doors.  Of them clinging to my calves as I walked around.  Of one of them trying to pee standing up “because the boys do.”  And the nephews?  Well, they’re bodies are bigger, yes, but their brains….?

My kids are in that fun stage where they’re fun to have real conversations with.  They ask questions of significance and not only listen to the answer but chew on the answer and ask more questions.  Yet I also see at the same time the little boy who banged his head into the wall when we said “no.”  Of the youngest when she couldn’t pronounce “Charli” so called her “Girl” instead.  And the infamous Binky that would never leave the lips of my middle child.

Then there’s recalling waiting with friends for the birth of their little boy, who is now using Facebook to woo his young lady.

Of course, that time-stick works with everyone.  My mind rejects the current Dan with little hair and fills in with the mullet of our youth.  My friends enjoy eternal youth in my mind.  Brian will always be muscular, Mike will always be a young, vital worship leader with supple hands on the fretboard.  My wife will always be the winsome lass of our honeymoon (okay, she hasn’t changed, so that’s not so difficult).

And then dementia slips in when the time-stick slips.  My lovable and dim-witted dog Thunder occasionally becomes my much-missed first lovable and less-dim-witted dog Rainey (because they’re both black and about the same size, though Rainey could attain a measure of dignity and Thunder as yet can’t).  And then there’s the time when friend Susan has a clone-offspring in Becca, who if you close your eyes and just listen is indistinguishable from her Mom… especially when she laughs.

I’m firmly convinced that we adults time travel regularly in our heads, existing in both time periods of our children’s lives at once.  That boy asking me for the keys to the car is the same boy shoving a matchbox car while making the sound effects with his mouth.

And our kids wonder why we look at them oddly.

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