Noticing right now / by Christina Rosalie

Tonight Bean stood. STOOD. On his how two little feet. For long enough that DH could come through the door from the kitchen into my office and see him standing, not aware of his own miraculous feat—or feet! Stood long enough for us both to stare at him and gasp. Longer than any previous wobbly attempts. And then finally he realized he wasn’t holding on, and quickly reached out for me, grinning.

I am not sure how to explain how this made me feel. The constant rushing forward of time leaves me breathless. His GROWING leaves me breathless. I remember as a kid waiting for what felt like FOREVER for my birthday to come. A year felt like as long as my whole life. One weekend to the next stretched on indefinitely. Don’t you remember that? That blurry sense of time? As an adult I experience it so differently, and especially now watching my son, whose inner and outer growth is so immediate and exponential.

The amazing thing about him standing was that he was so concentrated on the new container I’d given him to look at—so wholly absorbed in observation—that he was completely unaware of his body. His little muscles, his skeleton, and his cerebellum took over. Auto pilot. For the first time.

As adults we do so much on auto pilot. Walking is something most of us are rarely aware of. We eat, drive, make dinner, take a crap, have entire conversations, even---all with our minds elsewhere. Of course there is a certain necessity to all this absentmindedness—multitasking makes the world run (any woman can attest to this). And there is definitely something to be said for being able to read the entire issue of People cover to cover while completing one’s business on the loo. But watching Bean in those freeze-frame slow-motion seconds of time when his body took over and his mind was wholly somewhere else made me contemplate the what it means to be truly present.

Walking downtown tonight crystalline snow was falling around us. Each snowflake individuated and big enough for you to see it’s magnificent hexagonal construction. Bean kept looking up at them swirling in the light of the street lamps, and then he’d look over at me and smile these huge brand-new tooth smiles that said more about his happiness and wonder than words ever will, and a part of me wanted to slow time down again to that dreamy pace of childhood—when everything is NOW and FOREVER both at the same time.