Last night I looked at all the photographs. Two decades of life in a night. I don’t know how I felt after seeing so much of our past – wistful, old, of course, and like I had mostly been a pretty good mother. But there was also a voyeuristic feeling. My son says it’s not natural for us to look backwards, to see ourselves as we were. He says, biologically, it is not what we are meant to do.
But I am thinking about my son’s chubby diapered body, how innocently, how trustingly he clung onto us – in our arms, around our necks, cheek to cheek, baby head on my bony shoulder, fat legs wrapped round my waist. What had I ever done to earn such holding? I am thinking about how over time he clung less, how he was smirking that morning in his crib when I came to get him, having stood up for the first time on his own, smirking like he’d pulled a prank. Then soon enough, he walked, ran, leapt, and at some point, he was no longer held at all.
When was the last time I held you? What day was that? I’ll bet I could figure it out in the PhotoStream – the exact moment of the let go. But then my son would say, it’s not what we are meant to do. What he means is, we are meant to let go.