The first time I can remember consciously trying to 'savour the moment' was the first day Otis was born. We were home from the hospital within 12 hours of his birth and as I sat on the couch, holding him in my arms and inhaling the scent of his little head, I clearly remember thinking to myself:
This is it. This is my last baby. I want to remember what this feels like.
It has been less than 2 years, but I know I already cannot really remember what it feels like.
I have a friend and former colleague named Larry. Something he said to me on my last day of work before Amelia was born, has stuck with me. He told me to never take parenting advice from anyone whose children are more than 2 years older than your own, because they don't remember. They think they remember. But they don't. They might even insist they remember, but they don't. The more I think about, the more I think he's bang on.
Earlier this week, a colleague who has children in their twenties, told me that from the time his children were 1 year old, they consistently slept through the night and that he and his wife never had any sleep-related problems with either of them. Ever. When I told him that there is no way he could remember that, he insisted that he did. I don't think he was lying. I think he really thinks he remembers. But it's impossible. But I digress...
What I want to say in this post is that I'm trying very hard to find a way to fool my brain. I desperately want to hold on to these times when my children are little. I want to remember that every time Otis hears the sound of an airplane (and that is often since we live very close to a major airport) he looks up, points to the sky and shouts "APE!"-his short form for "airplane". I want to remember the sticky smell of oranges on both of their fingers after snack time outside. I want to remember that although the idea of a sand and water table is cool, we had to change it to a water-only table because Otis wouldn't stop eating the sand. I want to remember how I feel when I check on them sleeping in their beds. I want to remember how it feels to brush their hair. I want to remember the way their little voices sound when they are laughing in the tub. I want to remember all the little details, but I know that as time passes I won't be able to.
I do what most people do. I take the photos, and we even have a few videos here and there. I make photobooks and I write little stories about the kids in them. I have a journal, and I have this blog. I know that all of these things will help to preserve parts of the experience, but I don't know how to preserve the feeling part. I can anticipate that I will feel nostalgic about the past, but I don't think I will really ever be able to preserve it.
Which brings me back to the title of the post. I think I've come to the realization that they only thing I can do, the only thing any of us can really do, is just to savour the moments as they happen. I have been trying very hard to be truly present. The minute I walk through the door I give them my full attention. My Blackberry is put away until they are in bed. If I can't remember these days 10 years from now, I at least want to know that I did my best to live them well, while they were here.