James and I go through stages in our daily commute to and from daycare/the office together. In the beginning, we shared a peaceful ride as the car lulled him to sleep almost every time. That transitioned to a half sleeping/half screaming baby shortly down the line, and up until about a month ago, the ride to and from daycare became my least favorite time of the day. James hated the car, squirmed in his seat, called Mom-mom UP, and all around showed little appreciation for the world passing by his windows. Our commute became the worst kind of necessary evil.
But then, as things do, something shifted. Now we chat. The entire way to and from daycare. We talk about who he played with (Owen and Eve), who he danced with (Owen!), who he cooked with (Eve!). We call out Digger, where are youuuuu? Snowplow where are youuuuuu? We laugh. We talk about red lights and green lights and school buses and spoons and pots and whatever else pops into the mind of a 23 month old. And the drive zips on by, and before we know it, we’re talking about being hooooooome and what we’re going to cook for dinner and if we should play with Legos or trains while we chat on the phone with Wawa and Dad-dad.
I can remember when he was a teeny, tiny little thing, and thinking how everyone said time would fly but really the days never ended and time seemed to stand still…but at the same time they fly by…but really stood still…or flew. It was always so hard to tell! Anyways, I remember thinking that the stages lasted so long and the thought of ever getting to a few months down the line when whatever the next milestone was would happen seemed like an impossible feat. And now? The stages just barrel into one another, come and gone before we even realize that a stage just happened.
So the fussing car seat boy turns into the chattering car seat boy who all of a sudden turns into the who knows what boy. But with each passing phase I realize just how fleeting the prior phase was, and just how damn them, whoever they are, they’re right. Time does fly, and little boys grow up and ask for bikes for their birthdays and to go down slides with their cousins and to eat ice cream for breakfast, And so we do all of that…we contemplate the first bike; we find slides on which to play; we sneak bites of ice cream at times when ice cream shouldn’t be eaten.
All because the damn stages fly and I already find myself thinking back to the earlier ones with wistful sentimentality of what once was versus what now is. And there is joy – so much joy I can hardly stand it – at being along for the ride, sharing the adventure. So despite the fussy stages and the whiney ones and lord knows what other ones that lie ahead, I embrace the stages and find excuses to sneak in a little more time, one more snuggle, five more minutes in bed listening to a still tiny soul whisper, Hug, Mom-mom…Hug, because the only thing I have learned for certain is that each and every stage has an end.