The March of Time
This evening I read the last chapter of ‘The Complete Winnie-The-Pooh’ to Darlek for her bedtime story and oh my goodness I struggled. In particular I had difficulty with the very last paragraph which goes like this:
‘So they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.’
I could barely get the words out because of the streams of tears running down my cheeks. Such simple words that say so much. Darlek curled up next to me in bed, resting her head on my shoulder as I struggled to explain why I was crying. She wiped my tears away with a toy Gruffalo, and giggled at me and asked me what it all meant. Taking huge gulps of air to try and calm myself I told her that it was almost impossible to explain, and that one day, if she’s ever a mum herself, she’d understand. Not content with that, she asked me again and I went on about how children always grow up, about how life just gets bigger somehow as you get older and that toys and simple things get left behind, replaced with jobs and homes and work and responsibilities. She smiled at me, and cuddled me and maybe understood a little, I don’t know.
The thing is, whilst reading that one sentence, I felt my wonderful little girl slipping away from me. One day she will grow up, her Care Bear will be discarded in the bottom of a cupboard somewhere, the little shoes she wore for her second birthday will never be worn again by her, we won’t always do the school run and walk hand in hand whilst jumping on Autumn leaves skittering around on the pavement. These days will not last forever. In fact she probably won’t even remember a lot of these times, because they disappear almost without trace. Every time the sun sets another day is gone. Perhaps the only record of some of our most precious moments will be these words on this page.
Darlek will become a tweenie (or whatever the term is!), a teenager, a young adult, a grown up, a mother maybe, a wife, a grandma, a great grandma – someone else. But to me, she’ll always be my baby, no matter what. When she’s old and grey and I’m long gone, somewhere up in the ether there’ll be me looking down on her, wanting to stroke her cheek as she falls asleep and remembering the time she wiped my tears away with a toy Gruffalo as I cried and tried to explain the March of Time and how it carries us onwards.
Sentimental rubbish, but you know how it is. Sometimes I just want to grab time and hold it where it is, but it just bounces away from us all Tigger-like.