A Moment’s Peace
My daughters are sleeping on the sofa, silent but for tiny puffs of breath from their perfect little slack sleep-mouths, cuddle toys held loosely to their chests. I want to make indelible mental records of moments like these. There are so many occasions where I wish I had time to pause and just absorb it all. I will myself to etch them in memory, for recall in another time and place, when their feet have stopped growing and walked away. But my brain fails me, our busy life rushes on and slowly they slip away. It upsets me to know that these moments will soon vanish into the fog of long-term memory to only appear in short bursts of dream between sleep and waking.
So I take photos; endless photos. To an outsider they are a mundane catalogue of the ordinary, to me they are a digital miracle through which I can happily browse for hours; and which they do too when they manage to sneak off with my phone. I find them under the dining table, hunched over the small screen, pointing each other out in the pictures and chatting gleefully in their barely-intelligible toddler language. All they see is images of themselves, playing, eating and laughing. But I’m looking at the years of mine and my husband’s life given over to them, the work involved for ‘free play’, a happy day out, or the quiet snooze on a Wednesday afternoon.
Occasionally I catch glimpses of how they may look when they’re older, and speculate on how they might turn out, and I inwardly wince at the prospect of them becoming harder or affected by the wider world. I guess that’s normal for a parent, but their potential both excites and terrifies me.
Despite often yearning for a moment’s peace, as I sit listening to their breath and browse countless proud photos of them passing development milestones, I quietly, really, honestly never ever want them to grow up.