I have to laugh. I let ‘And me, of course’ read the previous post on our way to school. “You could write a little more…maybe about growing up from birth to nine years old…,” she said. How interesting! She happens to be nine. Surely, her suggested idea was not part of an agenda. Imagine, a child running its parents’ lives.
But, I wont resist. I promised to think about some of those wonderful moments.
The thrill of the first sight of the new baby coming into the world. In fairness to her sister, my first-born (whom I saw many hours before her mother did), the birth of both girls were wonderful events. Call me ‘old fashioned’: I preferred to have no idea what gender the baby was going to be. I wanted that surprise, and was overjoyed that each was a girl. Tears were natural, and they were of joy.
I love the landmarks. First steps. First-born took tottering steps towards a coffee table against which she could get a grip. We were sitting at home in Tottenham, enjoying a lunch with some of her godparents. Her little sister took her first steps in Guinea, also heading for a coffee table. Different times, similar sightings. Oh, the pleasure on their faces as they felt that freedom to move alone, and arrive safely.
The sleepless nights that come when a child is sick don’t usually feature as high points, but when the child has just had surgery to deal with an infected knee, and you were just back from being abroad, then a fitful night of sleep next to that child in hospital is as good as it gets.
Taking my child to school has often been amongst the best things that happen in a day, whether walking hand-in-hand, as I did with my first-born, or having her sister sitting behind me giving her all in song or words that made sense to her if not always to anyone else.
The joy of water activities. Which was more fun? Bath times together? Getting into a swimming pool for the first time? Trying to deal with the waves of the sea, when most of them are bigger than your child? Knock me over, sea! Pick me up again, Daddy. Knock me over, sea…
Teaching…to swim; to ride a bicycle; to read; to write; to sit at table; to hold a knife and fork; to answer a ‘phone; to deal with landing in an airplane :-); to be kind; to be gentle. How do you eat a mango? How do you drink through a straw? Learning to be confident. Learning to be herself.
It goes on, and so it should, for a parent and a child. It’s everyday, and everything. It’s having a smile to match a smile; or a frown to match a frown; or putting clementines over your eyes like glasses :-o.
When I spoke to my father on the phone, yesterday, I never forgot that I had grown up as his child, and he spoke to me as someone who knows he’s still watching his child grow up.