Every night, I ache
Sharing an excerpt from my journal five years ago, along with some recent images captured at my favourite time of the day—twilight.
I walk out of my Zumba class, out of the gym, and into the rain. The night feels cool, and my body welcomes it. Even though I am covered in sweat, I feel utterly alive.
Every night, I sit on our bed and my heart literally aches.
I ache with the knowledge that the boys will not be little boys for long. I ache with the guilt that I haven't been a better mum. I ache with the desire to protect them forever. I ache with the fear that they will be hurt. I ache with the realisation that there will come a day when they will leave home. I ache with the longing to always cradle them in my arms. I ache with the determination to be gentler, more patient, more attentive, and more present.
Every night, I ache.
Bear is very unsettled.
I leave my desk and tiptoe to his room.
At the door, I pause. For a moment, all is quiet.
All I can hear is the pitter patter of rain, and the distant chirp of the cicadas.
However, a moment later, the crying resumes.
I open the door. It creaks loudly.
I scoop my boy into my arms. Yes, he is a boy now, rather than a baby.
We sit on the armchair together, my boy and I.
I press my forehead close to his, and we stare at each other in the dim twilight.
I soak up every facet of the moment: his eyes, his smile, his breathing, his cheeks, his little fingers, his smell...
As always, I am struck by the ferocity of my love.
We sit like that for a long time, my boy and I.
These days, it feels like my world is spinning out of control. Our four little boys are growing up so quickly, I can hardly keep up with all their changes.
These next few months, in particular, are going to be a roller coaster ride.
Pete goes back to preschool next Wednesday.
Angus starts primary school the day after.
Pete turns four next month.
Jamie turns three in March.
He then starts preschool three days later.
And, last but not least, Edward turns one (one!?) in April.
All in less than three months.
I send my dad a text message.
He and mum have been in Hong Kong for just over a month, and I am missing them. I remind him that Angus is starting school next week.
In his reply, he says that "time really flies" and he goes on to tell me that "the time when you went to kindergarten is still in my mind."
I am inexplicably moved. It never occurred to me that my starting school would still be imprinted on my father's memory.
Two truths hit home.
The first: as a parent, our children's milestones (and every moment in between) are branded on our hearts for eternity. Even the tiniest trigger can bring them to our minds' forefront and make us ache with longing.
And the second: Time does not stop for us. No matter how much we may wish it.
Indeed, the cycle of life is a force to be reckoned with. Only just yesterday, we were children. Today, we are parents. Only just yesterday, my father saw me going off to school.
Next week, it will be my son's turn...