Miles turned 3 yesterday. I feel a little bad in moments like this because I feel like I could have done a much better job documenting the last year of his life. I remember hearing some place that you can tell by the amount of photos you take of your children that you can judge the parents interest in that particular age (for which the reason no parents take photos of their teenagers becomes self-evident). I don’t know if that is true or not but if Miles ever found this blog I would hate to have him think I wasn’t as invested in this past year of his life. If anything, I have been trying to be more invested in the day to day experience of being with him and Shannon and less invested in the documentation of these experiences.
This has obvious problems. For me, I feel like things quickly disappear from my mind. Not the major stuff like Miles’ birth or my wedding, but the little things that fill me with emotion in a day to day circumstance. I once heard a poet refer to these big experiences in our lives as our ‘river teeth’; these are stories that we carry with us and become honed into one or two emotions. The small things, though, which is the mass of the way I experience my life, is incredibly fleeting. This summer has proven this to me time and time again. There have been 15 minute periods where Miles is melting down that have felt like an eternity. This has been transformed into a fleeting experience that I can no longer describe the specifics of and, as a result, I end of saying things like, ‘having a kid can be really hard sometimes’ without feeling any emotion behind the words.
One of the things that has been really interesting to me is the night time routine Shannon helped to develop with Miles when the 3 of us can be together. Shannon usually gets Miles ready for bed and then we read a story. Normal stuff. For the last two years (maybe more, I don’t know) we each take a turn saying something that we appreciated or enjoyed about our days. Shannon and I usually choose something really specific with both each other and Miles. My favorite response from Miles that I have gotten just a few times is when he says, “I enjoyed you (pointing to me) and you (pointing to Shannon).” This week he has been telling me that ‘You’re the best’, which is probably as much a reflection of my vocabulary as it his. Anyway, we end with a prayer of sorts: “May we hold hands quietly for a moment, feeling love flow around us and through us, and knowing that as we give love away, there is always more within.”
I don’t know why I wanted to write this tonight except to note that these are the small moments that I remember only because of repetition but unlike a lot of things that I repeat, this doesn’t lose its emotional intensity. Its not something funny he said (although he says funny things all the time–my-belly-button-has-a-lid,-where’s-yours?-kind-of-thing), its more that most nights it is a quiet moment. It is a pause to take a moment to step out of that rushing river of time and notice a really small thing that I appreciated about my day. It is a reminder to take a deep breath. When Miles gets older, no matter where our lives lead, I will know Shannon and I got to deeply experience a wonderful year of this tiny person being two and to experience the growth this engenders in the two of us as a couple. What could be better than that?