Today I went through all of the clothes Sam has outgrown and put them into piles to resell, pass along to a friend, and donate. With him being my second, I knew going in just how fast time passes, and I made a conscientious effort to enjoy the small moments, to be present, to soak in the sights and sounds of each day, knowing tomorrow he would change and I'd never get that day, those moments, back.
I did a pretty good job. I sat and I soaked. But still, today, going through all his itty bitty clothes that I loved to dress him up in so much, still it hurt my heart with a deep ache to think about all the time that's already gone by, all the versions of him that came and went that I'll never have back.
I had a panicky feeling and suddenly wanted to video tape our entire lives, every meal, every diaper change, every bath, every evening walk, so that a year from now, five years, ten, thirty, fifty, I could replay those videos and have it all back.
Those mental snapshots I took in my mind suddenly seemed so inadequate.
On the way home from school, we listened to sing-along kid songs. When each one ended, Ali would yell, "It's OVER!" Pretty soon, Sam started yelling "o-vuh!" at the end of a song, Ali would yell, "It's over!" and I would confirm, "Yep! Over!" I think that's the first time the three of us have had an actual conversation together. When we got home, of course I didn't yet have the house wired for continuous video recording, so I put dinner on the stove and sat and played with them. Ali played a new game on the iPad where she fixed cars' flat tires. She thrilled with telling me each step ("first I roll the car in, then I drop it, then I raise it, then I pick new tires, then I lower it, then it rolls off!"). I sat on the floor with Sam and a box of blocks and we talked about the pictures on each one ("Apple. Monkey. Elephant. Those are pears. That's a bunch of grapes. [to which he signed "eat"] That's right! You eat grapes!") and eventually he started telling me which ones he wanted me to find: ah-puhl (apple), ella (elephant), ha-ha-ha (monkey), shhh (fish). I got up to go to the bathroom and Sam followed me, playing peek-a-boo with the shower curtain while I laughed at him. Ali ran in and hugged my knees. Later we went for a family walk around the small parkland by our house, and then came back to play two rounds of hide-and-seek (Ali's current favorite) before bath time. I nursed Sam, and when he was all done he sat up and said "ah dahh" while waving his hands in the air. And then he buried his head on my shoulder. When I got Ali out of the bath, she would squeal while I jiggled her throat, making her noises jagged and vibrating and she laughed uncontrollably at the sound. Sam picked out the books he wanted read both by pointing and by forcibly shutting the book when I picked up the wrong one. And when it was just he and I, standing in his dark room, singing his bedtime lullabye, he rested his head on my shoulder, knees tucked up into my chest, and reached down to hold onto my finger while I sang.
I can't video every moment. But maybe this will help, ten, twenty, fifty years from now, both as a way of reminding me of the tiny wonderful details that make up my day, and as a way of reassuring myself that I lived them, I loved them, I breathed them in and appreciated them and was present in them when they were there, happening to me for real.