Time travel - FamilyEducation

Time travel

May 15,2009
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

After dinner on Tuesday, we loaded up everyone into the van (dog included) and drove to register T. for our neighborhood swim team. It was all very exciting. The store that sponsored the registration was filled with pool friends, and T. was nervous, and excited, and happy to be the focus of attention. After we registered her she tried on the tiniest racerback Speedo swimsuit EVER made and paraded around the store. Scott looked worried. "Are you sure it isn't too tight?" He asked, plucking at the straps. The store erupted in laughter. "Spoken like a true father," someone said. And that comment made us both stop of course, and laugh, but in a nervous way because we saw the years suddenly accelerate in front of our eyes and we were staring at T. who was thirteen or fourteen or sixteen and wearing a suit that was definitely too tight--of this we were sure. ************ Most of the time when you're a parent you just see your kids as they are at that moment. Every now and then, though, you'll catch sight of them and see that their legs have stretched out, or the roundness in their cheeks is gone, or that suddenly their precious bodies--the ones you know so well because you've memorized every line and curve and dimple--seem sturdier in the hips or legs, more capable, more like the bodies that will house the people they are growing up to be. I don't experience this too much with my own kids--especially with T., who grows at a glacial pace, really. Neither one of my kids was ever prone to sudden growth spurts, those ones some parents claim happen overnight. Still, there have been some clearly defined moments when I look at them and gasp a little, or tilt my head to one side to get a better look, wondering at this person I see in front of me. When I do catch sight of my kids "looking big" it's an extra surprise--and a wonderful one, too. Today, while I watched T. play in the front yard, I had one of those moments, and I wondered, too, if the reverse happens when our kids are much, much older? I wonder if some day I'll watch my grown-up L. and T. doing something--anything--and see in their twenty-year old, or thirty-year old, or forty-year old bodies and minds and mannerisms the shadows of the children they once were. T.Happy Weekend!