“Why should he not hope that ultimately he may be able to stop or accelerate his drift along the Time-Dimension, or even turn about and travel the other way?” – H.G. Wells, The Time Machine
As I sit here nursing Henry, I find myself occasionally glancing through the blinds of his bedroom at the world outside. I catch the beauty of our neighbor’s flower garden, or another one’s well manicured lawn, or the beautiful remodel of a front porch. I imagine what the inside of their houses must look like, clean and organized with a grand splendor about them. There are no chips in the paint on the wall, no lip prints on door windows or hand prints on the television screen. I bet they still have working blinds and non-scratched or chipped hard wood floors. How nice that must be. Then Henry stirs and a small moan seeps from his lips and I’m brought back into his bedroom.
I dare not budge, as he’s back to sleep, nuzzled into the crook of my arm. He reaches up and gently strokes my arm before taking another deep breath and falling back to sleep. And that is my cue to start daydreaming again about the beautiful houses my neighbors have, a house I once had BK (before kids).
I immediately transport myself (mentally) downstairs to the kitchen. How wonderful it was BK. It was clean, no crumbs or jelly handprints on cabinets. The kitchen table was a beautiful black, not chipped. I used to put a Christmas tree in the corner where a cardboard clubhouse has now taken up residence. I start thinking what the room will be like when I’m able to put that Christmas tree back up, about when I no longer have to scour the cabinets every half an hour. One would think I would become excited about the prospect, but instead a lump starts to form in my throat and I realize, when the toys are gone, my boys are grown.
Am I ready for that? Some days, YES! But most days? Not really. Before I know it, they’ll be grown and I’ll begin shuffling through the file cabinets of my brain, anxious to retrieve little memories. And what about my memories? How can I possibly retain them all? There is so much that is ongoing in their lives right now, so much I want to catalog and remember, so much that I wish Mr. H.G. Wells hadn’t just written a book on a time machine, but had instead created one.
What I wouldn’t give to be able to go back already and relive some of their “firsts”. How fabulous it would be to experience Davey’s first steps all over again. Sure, I have it on video, but it’s not the same. To actually be in the moment, even just an observer, to one of the most magical moments in my child’s life. There something completely different about being in the moment as opposed to watching a two-dimensional version of it on the screen. There’s a feeling of excitement, pride, happiness, and overwhelming joy. I find myself smiling about it right now. How wonderful it would be, but since we don’t have a time machine, then I just need to find a way to soak up as much of each moment as possible in their lives.
I need to stop fretting about my house, it’s not like we live in squalor. I need to just let it go, be a part of the now. So, my neighbors just got this awesome outdoor kitchen patio built onto the back of their house? They don’t get the joy of being a part of this amazing world of parenthood. They may not have peanut butter stained curtains (I did have those) or play doh encrusted carpet, but I got it all and something better…a lifetime of memories. I just wish I could take a day and go back and relive them all.
I can hope, just like the Time Traveller, that the opportunity will arise to see the past (the future can remain an enigma). Although, it’s highly unlikely. So, any of you super geniuses out there, please find a way to make a machine that I can climb in and, like Marty McFly, just punch in the date and witness history, MY personal history, again.