Since I became a parent, I am remarkably aware of the passage of time.
When the monkey was born, I was amazed and astounded by how much she would change in only a week. The first week she was a small puffy bundle of warm lovely smelling baby, her eyes still swollen from the birthing process.
By three weeks she was a bright, wide-eyed babe, trying to hold her head up and roll over.
In just over a month she was laughing and by a year she was no longer a baby anymore, eating food, crawling, trying to walk and talk.
She changes at a teeny bit slower pace now. I notice more when I look at pictures from the beginning of the year to now, or going through her clothes and realizing she doesn’t have one pair of tights that fits from this past spring.
I am aware as well of the passage of time as a woman.
Ten years ago I was in my 20s, in the beginning of my life with the better half and not too concerned about my health or the future past my date on Saturday night.
I am no longer in my 20s and I am still young and have lots to learn, but I am now aware of my health, of the stubborn grey hair or two (or four) that I keep colouring over and the lines on my face.
We’re also starting to be concerned about retirement, if we will be able to, how much to save and what we will do.
I think a lot what my relationship with my daughter will be like then. Will we still be close? Will she live far away? Will she be happy to hear from me when I call? Will I be a burden on her when I’m old and grey?
I don’t ever talk about this with the monkey. I might someday, but she only four after all. It’s a pretty heavy subject for a preschooler.
So the other day at dinner, she said something that surprised me and comforted me at the same time.
"Mommy, will you grow old one day and will I have to take care of you?"
"Yes," I said. "I will grow old someday, but I promise to do my best to stay healthy so you don’t have to take care of me."
She looked at me and smiled. "It’s OK, Mommy. I want to take care of you when you’re old because you take such good care of me. And then we can take care of each other."
I didn’t know what to say at first. I wiped a tear from my eye and told her thank you and gave her a hug.
I was comforted not because she made this promise to take care of me when I’m old — she is only four, after all, and I still hope she never has to.
But I was comforted by her amazing little heart and the realization that even though every night I nag at her to eat her supper and clean her room and sometimes give her timeouts and say "no" more than I’d like, she realizes in some way that I love her and I am taking care of her.
And when your kid tells you you’re doing a good job, well, there’s just nothing else like it.
Kyla Henderson is a local freelance journalist, business owner and mommy. Her column runs every week in the Community News.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 4, 2012