Not a new chemical element, although if it were the description would go something like this: “energetic particle not bound to any obvious reference model. Becomes excited when mixed with world. Consumes other heavy elements without increasing mass including chocolate brownies, cheesecakes and waffles the size of decking”
So Jessie is 11. Hard to know what is more worrying – the fact that our youngest child is now double figures and a bit, or that the other one is three months from being a teenager. It’s time to complete the workshop still and raid a food warehouse for a million slices of bacon and one apple*.
A graze through the pantheon of digital archives surfaced these images, which must represent about 1% of the total, most showing Jess pulling funny faces and looking happy with her lot. She even sulks funny.Dusty in my office today, because the random selection of pictures both made my eyes water and brought a lump to my throat.
I cannot understand how that time has passed. New Zealand was four years ago and yet it feels like last year, or the one before at most.
It seems no more than a few days ago, I could pick up both kids and invert them without the serious back injury attempting that with just one would incur today.
They are no less interesting as they grow older. They certainly are lower maintenance, especially if the never-to-be-broken-rule of not crossing their bedroom boundaries is strictly observed. And they both continue to be engaging, funny, loving and generally damn good kids.
It is easy to lament the times past, the loss of their wide eyed innocence and the increasingly distant orbit from your world. Or to fear the onset of boyfriends, disinterest in all things parents and – inevitably – their flight from the nest.
But that’s a stupid way to look at it. The bit we’re in control of is now, so let’s love every day that brings. Last weekend Carol and the kids were away and it wasn’t any fun for me at all. You lose the family rhythm, the pulse of slamming doors and running feet, the set-your-watch-by demands for food, computer use and sugary snacks.
The impromptu hugs, the laugh out loud views of the world, the face-palming stupidity of one family member**, the DVD scrum for which film to watch; all of that and the hundred other little things than sound like nothing but spell family.
So Jess might be a year older, but she’s still my little random. For a while anyway.
* I am on some kind of healthy diet currently. My weight fluctuated nearly 5lbs between going to bed and getting up. Which tells me to weight less, I need to sleep more. Could be onto something big here.
** I think you can guess who that individual is. I like to think of myself as quite a role model.