It’s funny the things I remember about my childhood: the color and texture of the tile on the kitchen floor because we played marbles on it; the sound of dial-up Internet; the magnetic stand to hold my speed-typing lists; the crevices in our moss rock wall where I hunted for gecko eggs; the huge caterpillars I peeled off the oleander leaves for pocket money; running through sprinklers on freshly mown grass. These memories, and others, will randomly pop into my day, reminding me that what is woven into our childhood stays with us forever.
Tonight I pulled out my third tooth as a mama. For some reason, this particular tooth turned me into mush. Just seeing my son’s innocent freckled face staring up at me, more courageous than me in that moment, I had flashbacks of those little teeth coming in just…yesterday, right? His sisters had the privilege of being audience and they did plenty of commenting the entire time and gave the pulled out tooth all the adoring attention it could have wanted. The younger sister realized, “GH! You won’t be able to brush your teeth anymore! He will just have to use those tooth wipes, right Mom?” After we had said goodnight, I watched him walk to his room. Tears welled as I saw him so grown up and yet such a little boy. So quickly he will be a man. Which begs the question: what am I weaving into the childhoods happening right now?
My tendency is to have a list and plow through it or to have a goal and drive straight for it- regardless of anyone or anything else. This can cause quite the mayhem since little people don’t understand to-do lists. At the end of the day I want to reflect not just on what was accomplished but also on what happened. Did the stories get read? Did we play together? My memories have shown me that living occurs when we least expect it; therefore it is necessary to weave in the work with the play, the discipline with the instruction, the pauses with the academics, the spontaneous with the routine. Tonight’s tooth-pulling event was such an extraordinary normal childhood moment: siblings, dental floss, standing in the kitchen. And yet now it’s woven into my heart along with all the flashbacks of my firstborn’s infancy and toddling steps. On a daily basis I need to freeze time for just a second or two and show my family that I love them and enjoy them.