I don’t know the last time Little Man fell asleep on my chest. I didn’t know it when it happened. You only realize well after the fact that he’s done taking naps on you, and bu then, lacking a complete record or a complete set of brain cells that last, precious moment is lost to the mists of somewhere between “the other day” and “earlier that year.”
I wrote a post a while back about this very phenomenon, how parenthood is filled with these unremarked finales, no way to see them coming, so you can’t prepare any goody bags or piñatas in commemoration.
The flip side, of course, are the first times.
These are awesome, these you do see coming. First bike, first bacon, first Boba Fett mask: these are all worth a quality digital camera and a slide show set to Paul Simon.
And he may win the Tour De France (and if he masterminds a doping syndicate to do so, though I’ll frown on his ethical choices, I’d have to admire his organizational skills). It could happen. He certainly was, and continues to be excited about his bike.
That’s the thing – you expose him to everything you can (except those CGI re-release monstrosities of the original trilogy) and he likes what he likes. But you never know if some lasting spark’s been ignited.
But sometimes you do.
Once in a great, great while a parent is given the indescribable honor of introducing their Little Man to what will grow into a lifelong passion. And you can see it right away.
Little Man had his first trip to the MN State Fair this year. For those not hip, the Fair’s a big deal around here. The Twin Cities pretty much shut down like willpower in a donut shop for 12 days while we all look at butter sculpture and giant pumpkins and eat delicious things that have no business being deep fried and skewered.
No business, and yet we have mac & cheese on a stick.
Tractors and Llama parades and Journey plays on Monday – there’s all this and then there’s the midway. On Wednesday, the Dude met rollercoasters. Life will never be the same.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise, really. Nothing moves fast enough for the Man, he will, not infrequently, run in circles or ask to be spun around or otherwise seek out forces centrifugal. It makes perfect sense.
But there’s no equation nor base explanation for the utter magic when he lights up after his first ride, for how he talks about it now. There’s only the epiphany that this is an activity he will relish and treasure for as long as he is physically able. This will be what he can’t wait to share with his child.
And I was there at the beginning.