Measuring time’s passage a fair wristband at a time

Every year time goes by a little faster. Five summers ago I was counting the days until my daughter was born. When we brought her home from the hospital she sucked on my finger the whole way. A few hours later I caved in and gave her a pacifier.

At night she’d sleep in her Amby Baby Hammock. Every time she made the tiniest peep or little wiggle the hammock would rock her back to sleep. My husband and I had learned the hard way with our son that cribs and newborns only work well together in the imagination.

Parenting the second time around was already a lot easier.

When we went to the Evergreen State Fair that summer it was so hot that I had to nurse my daughter without a cover-up so she wouldn’t overheat. I found a quiet place behind the quilt display and hoped other people didn’t see. Later, when we walked past the dairy cows, I felt like they were mooing at me in solidarity.

My husband bought our son an all-you-can-ride wristband. He went on the Tilt-a-Whirl so many times that he almost got sick. The wrist band was expensive, but we wanted our four-year-old to have something special to reward him for being such a good big brother — because he was more than good. He was wonderful.

At home, our son sat by his sister on her pink blanket and stared at her adoringly, keeping her company whenever needed. If I had to make dinner, do laundry or even pee, big brother was right there willing to help.

This was it. That was the summer. Our family became complete.

Now it’s five years later. On Wednesday we’ll scatter to the wind — at least until dinner.

In a few days my daughter will begin her first day of kindergarten. The tears have started already. Hers when she remembers that her best friend will still be at Edmonds Montessori and mine when nobody is looking. My baby is in grade school and my son is making the big leap from the primary wing of school to intermediate fourth grade.

By the way, in case you’re wondering, my kids no longer stare adoringly at each other over a pink blanket. I should have savored those moments more while they lasted.

Recently a friend told me her opinion that the hardest part of living in the Pacific Northwest is that summer is so short and beautiful that she feels pressured to cram in as many adventures as possible in a fleeting amount of time.

That’s kind of like parenting.

This weekend when we go to the Evergreen State Fair we’ll buy four all-you-can ride wrist bands. We absolutely must pack in as much fun as possible.

And when I look at my kids I’ll try hard to remember. August may be ending but there are still more eternal summers to come.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at teachingmybabytoread.com.

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