Blink and you miss it

The paint splatters on the floor, the ones that won’t come off — those are Anya’s childhood.

As are the scuffs and scrapes on my particleboard kitchen furniture, the stuff I bought with my ex-husband. On the particleboard everything in this house, to be honest. (Which is pretty much all the furniture, save the kitchen table and chairs.) I have already started mentally planning painting and mosaic projects for when they stop being so destructive.  The walls, the carpets, my clothes, my car…everything they touch bears marks from both kids.

Or I suppose I could just buy all new stuff.

But in just a few years — 20? 10? 5? — there will be no evidence that they were ever here in this house.

When I was a child, we moved from Illinois to Tennessee. Before we left my childhood home, I wrote my name and the date inside the closet: black Sharpie on powder pink paint. (And probably something about that being my room FOREVER, because I was 14.) That was nearly 30 years ago; someone has surely painted over the words by now. Probably more than once. No marks are forever, even Sharpie.

This morning, as I sit here PMSing and also hot-flashing (which is a really bizarre mix, let me tell you), I’m getting all misty thinking that these marks last no longer than they do. That childhood lasts such a short time. That in a few brief, brilliant moments, these tiny, beautiful creatures who depend on me for everything are going to turn into adults and move on.

I know it’s ridiculous, but I just wish I could hold on to these years for a while. Even the bad moments, where Kai throws toys at the other kids in the library, when Anya lays claim to every toy in the house and won’t let her brother play with so much as a half-deflated ball.

But I am also so looking forward to getting to know the adults they will become. So I cannot wish to keep them small forever. I’ll just have to compromise by taking 13.4 million photos of them, so when I’m old I can look back and remember these days. Unfortunately, photos and videos can’t capture the smell of their hair, the feel of their skin. So hopefully they will provide me with grandchildren, and thus allow me to recapture a little of these days.

How did I ever think life moved slowly? It goes by so brutally fast.


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