M and I have gone to the same drop-in gymnastics for the last year. When we started there, M was toddling. He would fall often (which is why we chose a gym with padding EVERYWHERE). He would trip over his feet or objects or…nothing at all.
He was super shy those first few months. He would watch kids from afar, more likely to observe than interact. He would often ask to leave early or to have a snack after ten minutes. It was fun to go, though, a little stressful that he wasn’t so interested in other people.
Then, he started to change a little. He grew attached to another little boy. They would play side-by-side, though not quite together. M would run all around, getting more and more coordinated as the days passed. We knew everyone’s name. Wednesdays was our day at the gym.
Then summer came and it got really hot, so we didn’t stay away from places without air conditioning. When we started back this fall, we didn’t know anyone. The first day back, M tried to get another kid to play with him and she just stared at him, then ran back to her mother. None of our old friends come around any more. Today, there were six other kids. They were between 10 months and 14 months old.
All of a sudden, M looked like a kid. All traces of that stumbling baby were gone as he climbed onto and through obstacles with ease. He tumbled on purpose, showing the babies his skills.
As I looked around and noticed what a big kid my baby has suddenly become, it was all I could do to not start sobbing. My eyes filled with tears and I took a deep breath, knowing that time is moving so fast and there is nothing I can do to slow it down. Before I know it, he is going to be at our Thanksgiving table with his significant other, maybe kids of his own, and I will wonder how it happened. I remember someone telling me before he was born that the first six months would crawl by and the first six years would fly by. It is so, so true.
Most days, I don’t want it to be. I want to be able to freeze time, to keep him in this super innocent stage where he still doesn’t understand how terrible the world can be. Since I can’t do that, I will just soak it up and write as much down as I can so that when I am old and my memory is failing, I can look back at those pages and tell M what an amazing little boy he was.