The other night my husband, Rafi, and I clicked through old photos on his laptop. He stopped on a picture of our son, who is now 8 years old but was 4 in the photograph. Rafi smiled at our son's short hair and big smile and said, "Remember how he looked when he didn't talk back?"
I laughed: My husband is quick to blame our son's now-long hair for every misdeed. I tried to remind him that our short-haired boy acted plenty naughty. But Rafi didn't hear me. He remained on that picture a few minutes longer while I tapped on the computer and then rolled my pointer finger at him. I was ready to move on; he clearly was not.
I didn't think anything of this, really, until a friend sent me a link to "Moments When Children Grow Up," a post at the New York Times' Motherlode blog. I appreciated (and echoed) Lisa Belkin's admissions that she couldn't remember many milestones from her children's lives, that she really never paused to mark them. After all, how can you know that the last time you carry your child will be the last time?
But I was more struck by the paragraphs she included from the book, What I Would Tell Her: 28 Devoted Dads on Bringing Up, Holding On To and Letting Go of Their Daughters, edited by Andrea Richesin. In these paragraphs, novelist Robert Dugoni shares a simple story of what Belkin calls his 8-year-old daughter's "pivot away from him and toward her future as a young woman."
When I read that Dugoni cried after realizing his daughter's need for bathroom privacy meant she was no longer the same little girl, I thought of Rafi, frozen on that photo of our son. And then I thought of my own dad and the seemingly random things he remembers from my childhood—these are the moment-markers Belkin describes.
As far as my ...1
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