My little girl, who I suppose is not so little anymore, turned eight years old yesterday. Something about eight was more painful than past birthdays. For awhile, it’s exciting as they hit those milestones; walking, talking, running, playing. Then, you start to realize that time is only flowing in one direction and there’s no way to go back. There’s no way to take an eight year old and make her tiny enough to hold in your arms ever again.
My daughter was born when I was only twenty-two, and I was certainly not ready to be a parent. I always loved her, desperately loved her, but I have to say that I didn’t really know what I was doing. Still, she has been my greatest teacher, and her patience has more than made up for my lack of parenting skills.
And, the good news is that nothing is ever broken; nothing is ever beyond repair. We make mistakes as parents every single day. We are human, after all. But, as long as the love is there, I believe it will all be okay in the end. I used to think it was a cruel joke that the universe had chosen to give such a bright and beautiful child a mother who knew absolutely nothing about how to raise her. Now, I think that maybe it was just the match we both needed.
A world in which time is absolute is a world of consolation. For while the movements of people are unpredictable, the movement of time is predictable . . . Each person knows that somewhere is recorded the moment she was born, the moment she took her first step, the moment of her first passion, the moment she said goodbye to her parents.
From Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman