I know there are many out there who claim to have been born in the wrong generation, but I for one am exceedingly grateful to be raising a child in the digital age. Do you know how many home videos my parents have from when I was a child? Zero. None. Zilch. I think they had one, at one point, of my brother and I at Christmas, but it got lost or destroyed. And sure, they have snapshots. Photos snapped with the hope that they turn out well, taken to the local WalMart for photo processing. They’re stacked together, loose-leaf style, in an envelope. Except when they’re not. My mom was pretty great about putting together photo albums until we got a little older and life got in the way. Discovering the photos now is always a guessing game of well your hair is longer/shorter/curlier or you had that dress/those glasses/that watch to pinpoint a year, but we’re really never sure unless some foresighted individual happened to date the back of the photo in 1994.
Me? The dumpling is 2.5 years old and I have literally thousands of photos and hundreds of videos. I have them effortlessly organized into albums, some for sharing with the grandparents and some just for us. The albums are sorted by years for easy access and reminiscing. I’ve put together little collages for decorating my office and a Father’s Day video for my dad. I’ve shared a picture, here and there, on social media. I’ve captured smiles and giggles and songs and quirks (his brief, yet passionate obsession with a pink umbrella). I’ve guiltlessly purged the bad. I’ve marked my favorites.
The ease and simplicity with which we document our lives is astounding.
There are things that I fear I will forget. Because there are things we just can’t capture. The way his eyes light up when he sees me at his classroom door, reunited after a day of school and work. The way his body, still so small in the grand scheme of things, feels so solid and strong next to mine. The moment I pick him up and realize that he’s heavier than the last time I carried him. The moment he reaches for something and I suddenly realize he’s never been able to reach that before. The feeling of his arms wrapped around my neck. How he pats my back when I carry him or fiddles with my shoulder blade. The way he clings to me when he’s scared or melts into me when he’s tired. I hope to never forget those feelings.
I love the way he runs: up on his tippy-toes, shoulders lifted like he’s trying to fly. His hips wiggle back and forth like an excited puppy.
I love the sound of his feet as he pitter-patters across the house, always at full speed. Never slow.
I love the way he tucks me in, when he plays pretend, covering me softly with a blanket, offering me kitty or puppy.
I love the way he sings our goodnight song to me, taking care to change the words to “goodnight mama goodnight.”
I love the pride in his voice when he finally accomplishes something he was trying to do. “I did it!” he exclaims.
I love hearing his voice from the other side of the house when I bump into something. “You ok mama?” he asks in concern.
I love laying in bed and listening, over the monitor, to him giggle with his dada on the mornings Luffy gets him. They always seem to have some game going.
I love when he declares that kitty is sick. We take her temperature and determine that she needs snuggles. He takes such good care of her.
But probably most of all – and more un-capturable than all the rest – there’s this moment we share sometimes. He’s in my arms and our eyes will meet. And he just looks at me with the purest love. He’ll place both of his hands on my cheeks and lean in close, almost for a kiss. But no, he just looks at me like I’m his everything. Like I’m the most beautiful and mythical creature in existence.
My sweet, sweet boy. I hope I never forget.