Time is not a linear thing. Especially for a parent.
The months seem to fly by.
And yet, certain days—and hours—within those months can feel like they last an eternity.
Lately, as a mom, I have been captivated by my daughter, watching her with the same harnessed attention as if I were watching the petals of an orchid unfurl. Opal, now four-and-a-half, carries herself in an alarmingly distinguished way, strides down the hall with the solid confidence of a gymnast on a beam. And then, she falls apart with such fervor, such commitment, that even this is a lesson in embracing the moment.
She is starting to be quite particularly about how she wants to appear. She loves dressing herself in contrasting patterns. She lightly shakes her shoulder-length hair because she likes how it feels as it brushes against her cheeks. She never wants it pinned back. She wears a bracelet high on her bicep.
She relates to many things with the intensity of responding to something burning, runs from room to room with a focussed air of I’ll-handle-this, guys. She screams when she wants our attention and then when we get to her, she smiles sweet as a tulip. (We say, Opal, please save your screams for a real emergency.)
I often catch her looking in the bathroom mirror as she has silent conversations with herself, making faces to accompany whatever emotion she’d like to portray. Surprised, dramatic, sometimes hilarious.
I distinctly remember doing that, too, talking to myself in the mirror. I did it often, and well into adulthood, as if I were rehearsing for life among others. Perhaps increasing the potential for future connections?
In the following time-lapse video, Frans Hofmeester started filming his son, Vince, in the autumn of 2002 and continued for a full 11 years. Each and every week he captured a few moments that will now live on forever in film.
It sure makes it very easy to envision Opal as a middle-schooler, with braces and a self-conscious, big-toothed smile. Will she still know any of her dearest preschool friends? Will she listen when I attempt to remind of her worth and magic?
My mother-in-law sent me this incredible video. I can only imagine the time-lapse version of her own son it inspired in her imagination—now forty years have passed. From the photos I’ve seen of Jesse, his smile and the back-lit glimmer in his eyes, are still the same. And likely always will be.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Mike DeMicco at Pixoto