My mate shared a video on Facebook this morning which shows a girl’s life progression from newborn to the age of 14. Her father had filmed her each week since birth to capture the speed at which she changed. In four minutes you watch her grow into a beautiful young woman. Four minutes.
It felt like just four minutes ago that I’d first met my friend who shared this clip in the first place. I remember it clearly. She was new to the school and had a quirky haircut – short on one side and long on the other. As I stood there awkwardly, in my nerd-length uniform with my hair tied back in a criss cross of tiny pony tails, I thought she was so exotic. We are now 40 and have five girls. In seconds, those girls will be at high school.
In the blink of an eye. Whoosh. Like a unicorn on a rainbow.
As I watched the images of the girl flash by, one after another, tears welled in my eyes. My heart burst. My own girls are growing with such speed.
They are no longer babies. This year we entered the next stage of their development. We have no more nappies or broken sleep or prams. We chat about life, friendships, emotions and dreams together. We share common interests and fight with passion. They are developing their own sense of style and have their own memories that don’t feature me in them. They are their own people.
As the video comes to an end with the image of a beautiful 14 year old girl staring out with the purity of youth twinkling in her eyes, I felt an immediate surge of my own mortality. How many more years will her father be alive to film her as she grows older? At what age will her film end? How many years will I be around to watch my girls grow? Hopefully for decades to come. Hopefully, one day I will blow the candles out on my 100th birthday cake, Twiggy, my girls and their children by my side. Lifetimes shared.
When I was younger I used to say how I’d love to travel back in time to my late-twenties. How that was my favourite time of life. How if I could stay right in those moments I would. I’ve changed my mind now. I want to freeze frame this moment right now. We are all happy, healthy and together. My greatest fear is not be here to watch them grow. And if I had my way I would stop time right before the moment I leave this earth. So I can see my girls grow and never have to say goodbye.
There are moments I wish the days away. I question why I chose this life. I’m tired and worn down and feel under appreciated. Being a parent can be thankless. I’ve raised three babies, I’ve earned the right to whinge when I’m exhausted, but I’m never not grateful. Twiggy and I are exceptionally lucky to watch our girls grow. We are privileged to have these sparkling souls in our life. Every day they morph into better people. Every day I am overwhelmed at the joy they bring. How fast life whooshes by. It’s the greatest gift to share it with our loves.
It was only yesterday I stood in my school yard and marvelled at my friend’s asymmetrical hairstyle.
In the blink of an eye life moves on.
Warning: Water may fall from your eyes when you watch this.