Stay At Home Nerd: Ready to Face the World
a blogumn by Josh Pullin
Before my son was born, my sister (who frequently comments on my posts) gave me some advice that I will never forget. She said, “Enjoy each moment because they grow up so fast.” Even a self-proclaimed skeptic like I could feel the truth of those words, as cliché as they might sound. She spoke from experience. Her son turned thirteen this week and I have no idea where the time went. It wasn’t that long ago that I was changing his diapers (occasionally), teaching him to ride a bike (by falling off it and getting up again) or shooting a basketball through the hoop (50 percent lifetime free throw shooter). These are the advantages of being an uncle. I get to hang out with my nephew and do fun stuff, while my sister is responsible for raising him.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that my own son was an infant. I’m not sure what you classify a four-month-old as, but infant he is not. For starters, he rolls over front to back and left to right. He transfers things from one hand to the other. He laughs. He follows you with his eyes as you walk across the room. He reaches for a toy. And, he holds his head up.
Holding his head up is a big deal. It changes his world and mine. It used to be that I would put him in his stroller or his baby bjorn and he would face me. His whole world was my face. There’s a comfort there in being a parent knowing that your child is completely dependent on you and that you are always able to see what their needs are. If he’s bored, his face tightens. If he’s hungry, he’ll root around looking for a nipple. If he’s tired, his head bops and droop. If he’s pooping his face turns red.
That’s all over now and it only took one visit to the doctor. She said, “Since he holds his head up so well you can face him forward in the stroller and baby carrier.” It’s a small step, but symbolic nonetheless. No longer will my son be facing me on our twice-daily walks, or as I call them “adventures”. No. He is ready to face the world. The security of my face will be replaced by the excitement of trees and cars, babies and their mothers, windows and mirrors, and all the other wonderful, exciting things that I take for granted walking down the street.
As a writer my only hope is to be a fraction as observant of the world as my son is. As a father my only hope is to give him the security to make his way in that world. And as a brother my only hope is to let my sister know her advice was not lost on me. Thank you Sis. Happy Mother’s Day. I love you. You’re raising a fine young man and I cherish each moment I spend with the two of you, even if I sometimes forget to act that way.