Tomorrow marks four years since a 10lb 9 baby Greggles landed with a thud on the delivery table. A thud, followed by a silence, which panicked me no end. Ever since that silent arrival, he’s brought me a daily dose of joy and fear (in equal measure).
The silence, as it happens, was nothing of concern. He was born breathing, inquisitive, and quiet. I don’t think he even cried for those first 24 hours, he was just enjoying being out in the world, taking in his new surroundings.
But now he’s big and that all seems so long ago. I look at my big strong boy now, and wonder if I’ve cherished him enough.
Of course, I love him. I love both my children dearly, but time seems to have slipped away too quickly and I’m left with fading memories of those early days.
Greg was so, incredibly bald as a baby. When I look at his unruly mop now, I find it hard to believe he had the lightest sprinkle of blonde down right up until he was nearly 2.
He owned lots of hats because I was always worried he was cold!
When I look back at baby photos of him (taken on inferior camera phones) there are a lot like the one below, in dim lighting, with Greg in his sleeping bag. He slept really well at first, then terribly for a really long time. He was often adorable and chirpy in the middle of night (like in the photo below) but I was never very impressed that my child was nocturnal.
I think it’s okay to acknowledge when parenting gets hard and to admit you don’t cherish the hard parts, but I still worry I didn’t spend enough time in the (2 am) moment, enjoying his giggles and his jolly little face.
He still giggles plenty and shows that jolly little face these days, but he’s so much bigger now. He’s shown me how easy it is to lose track of time.
In my head, it isn’t all that long ago that he was a baby, but every time I look at him, I realise I’ve let the passage of time hoodwinked me (it’s famed for its trickery, after all). He’s big now. Physically big for his age – given a head start by his birth weight, and big in the traditional way you describe a child who is growing up (and too fast).
I fear I’ll blink and I’ll miss this next stage, just as I seem to have missed him leaving toddlerdom. Have I given him all the time and attention I possibly could? Should I be regretting letting him play on my phone at the dinner table when we eat out? Should I have tried harder to be more present in the moment when all I wanted was sleep and a shower?
Does every parent run these questions in their head as their child grows? I wonder if this is what I have to look forward to, every birthday eve.
Maybe I cherished every moment as much as I could and I should. Maybe the fact I was there beside him on those sleepless nights, making him laugh and taking his photo is confirmation that I did my best. He’s turned into a happy and intelligent little boy, and maybe I should be proud of the job I’ve done so far.
I’m proud of my little boy. Maybe it’s time to be proud of myself.
Happy birthday Greggles. I love you very much.