My daughter turned eight years old today. On greeting her and wishing her ‘Happy Birthday’ this morning, she told me that she said a prayer last night in bed:
“Thank you for being seven, and thank you for all my remembers.”
I loved that last bit-thank you for all my remembers. Her way of summing up the past twelve months of her life, all of the memorable moments in the cavalcade of chronological events.
The other day I was watching her younger brother James from the kitchen window. He was out in the garden, studying a bird perched in a tree above him. He was serious and rapt, the hint of the handsome man he will be painted there on his face, and I found myself confessing a sad, wistful thought to myself:
I wish I was younger.
I have four children, and their arrival into the world was spaced out sufficiently enough to allow me to remain young, in outlook and character. My first daughter came along when I was almost twenty-six years old. Another daughter arrived when I was almost thirty. A third girl came into my life when I was thirty-five, and lastly a son when I was thirty eight. My relationship with all four is different in an age-appropriate way, but always having a young child has encouraged me to be daft and playful and juvenile in my behaviour with them.
James is now four years old. Being the youngest, in my moribund flights of fancy I worry about how old he will be when I finally bow out of this life. Putting aside any fears for myself, I hope that he will be well into adulthood by then. He has so much ahead of him. I wonder about the things in his life that I will miss out on.
Always reflective, I look at all four of my children and ask myself “Just what does life hold in store for you?” The good, the bad, the parts I will see, the parts that I won’t. The adults they will become, the descendants yet to arrive. The roots they will lay and the legacies they will found.
I can only hope life treats them well, and gives them many, good, remembers.