Before they grow up - Affonso Romano de Sant’Anna
The Affonso chronicle reached deep in my heart. Many truths, in such a short space of lines! Texts like that originate antagonistic feelings. At the beginning, something like: “I should enjoy the present moment, because everything goes away very fast.” Then, a look at my parents and grandparents, searching for the connection between who we were when children and our kids.
In other moments, it also brings anger. Remembering the past is done with rose-tinted glasses. Affonso didn’t say that we should face more fits, clean more vomit, spend more sleepless nights, lose our patience more times. It brings guilt, too: those lenses, coming from a voice filled with experience, ask us to forgive those boring facts in order to dedicate ourselves to nice facts. Off the record, day after day, sometimes it requires the posture of a Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Let me tell a story. When my daughter concluded kindergarten, the school organized a “PJ party”, i.e., she and the other children of her class would do dozens of activities and sleep at the school. On the next day, they would wake up and find messages from their families under their pillows.
(To the insecure moms, I say that two of my kids had PJ parties at school. Up until now, those nights still are, for them, one of the most fantastic things they’ve experienced.)
My family is immense, so I decided to compose the leaves, with all their messages, as a spiral bound notebook. I printed Hello Kitties, angels, fairies, flowers, ballerinas to decorate it. For my message, I wanted to do a retrospective since she was a baby, year by year. Looking at photography albums is frequent here at home, but that time it was different. It was an unequivocal proof that time had passed.
I looked at those photos and thought to myself: where’s this baby? And looked at my daughter trying to find some of her traces. But she had become a little lady, a smart, charming, independent and elegant girl.
It’s not necessary to say that a confused feeling appeared: joy because she became who she is, but also nostalgia, a lot of nostalgia, and perplexity. I had heard many mothers telling that the babies consume such an intense dedication, filling the whole day in each and every second, so the fatigue doesn’t allow them to “enjoy” the children. Thus, when they got aware, the kids had already grown up, and they just hadn’t notice.
Keeping it in mind, I did everything to focus on the present and enjoy each moment. My babies were “enjoyed” a lot. However, it didn’t prevent me from seeing the little clothes and shoes getting smaller and smaller, the diapers and bottles being abandoned, and to try, as in the movie “Mamma Mia”, holding their childhoods like sand slipping through my fingers.
And I wrote in tears my message for her.
At night, I had a dream that my daughter was a baby again. It seemed my guardian angel was giving me another opportunity just for old time’s sake. It was wonderful. Yet I woke up with the angel’s voice: “All right. Now, don’t wait for another six years to ask again: where is my little six year old girl?”
You can also see:
This post in Portuguese: Onde está meu bebê?