There’s a cliche parents say so much that I literally can’t go a day without seeing someone write it on Twitter, Facebook, or a blog. It goes something like this:
“Joey starts kindergarten today! What happened to my baby? Tear!”
“You know who has big feet? My SEVEN YEAR OLD!!! This is going too fast!”
“I blinked and somehow my Bartholomew is in high school! Hold me!”
I am almost certain to be in the minority when I say this, but I rarely have those feelings about Annie. If anything, I love to see her reach milestones. Now I’m not saying parents who Tweet/Facebook/blog the above cliche don’t love to see their kids reach milestones too… I’m sure they do. And I also understand why they write it. It’s natural for parents to want to hold onto every moment of their children’s lives; to savor every single one as long as possible. But I’m a little different. What I love the most is to see Annie continuing to grow up… aging… advancing forward in time.
This will sound strange, but I often fantasize about being very old, perhaps on my death bed, with a middle aged Annie by my side. What I like about this fantasy is that Annie is still here. I’ve guided her safely into the future as far as I possibly could, and can pass away peacefully knowing that she is alive and well.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why I feel this way. Losing Maddie spooked me, and its made trying to raise another child incredibly frightening. I’m constantly looking over my shoulder, afraid that at any moment the boom is going to be lowered on us again. This is why when parents say how sad they are that their kid is growing up I want to shake them and be like, “Don’t be sad they’re growing up fast! Just be glad they’re still here! Be glad you’ve still got them!”
But that’s not fair to those parents. Their feelings are totally normal. It’s mine that are weird. It’s not good to want to fast forward through life just so you can be sure you get your children to the end safely. But losing a child makes it hard to be any other way. Still, I need to work on enjoying the now no matter how uncertain the future may be.
Man, she really has grown up fast.