Sometimes, Radiolab makes me cry big, fat ugly tears. It's typically when they air anything about children or reference the passage of time in relationship to kids. Today, I listened to a podcast in which there was 2 minute recording of a little girl from birth to eighth grade. It started with a screaming newborn and ended with a preteen girl saying "I'm starting to get interested in boys." By the time the recording of the little girl as a three year old came up, I was misting over. The ending had me crying real tears as I drove, using the back of my hand to wipe away the steady stream. I'm looking forward to and dreading the day when their transformation into a little adult is complete.
I think back to my kids as newborns fondly. It was wonderful to hold them constantly. They wouldn't wriggle out of my arms. They, in fact, only wanted to be in my arms. I could hold them as long as I wanted to. It may have ended up being too much at the time and I wanted them to give me a god damned break, but that's a distant memory that I can't really bring to the surface at this moment. All I remember is how awesome it felt when they did want me to hug them.
When they began to refuse hugs in exchange for independent roaming, my heart was broken. Never again will they stay in my arms for hours at a time. The distance they have created between themselves and me continues to grow. Now, all I can get is a good five minutes before they're ready to run around, again. Even those five minutes are rare.
With each stage, though, I realize that I wouldn't want to go back in time. I mean, I sort of do. An afternoon back there would be nice. If I did that, though, I wouldn't get to be with the kids I currently have. The kids I have now are infinitely rewarding (albeit enraging at times, but that quickly becomes water under the bridge the minute the anger subsides). They tell me jokes and attempt to reason with me using bizarre logic. One will ask for a cookie. The kid's arguments for getting the cookie is that it wouldn't be fair if I didn't give her one since two weeks ago I had let the other one look at a cookie. Since the kid currently asking for a cookie didn't experience the reward of beholding a dessert way back when, they deserve to have a cookie today.When they were newborns, save for poorly timed farts, they weren't nearly as hilarious as they are today.
So, I'm stuck in a bizarre, middle-world of nostalgia and satisfaction and I don't know how to reconcile the two. Instead, I am left to flounder through while crying intermittent tears on my way to school pickups and the grocery story, equal parts wanting to just have time stop and excitement for the future.