I viewed an infographic some time ago that demonstrated just how quickly childhood goes by. Each short stage (infanthood, toddlerdom, etc.) was marked within a period of 0-5 years and ascended in age up to adulthood. The images were effective for me, as I often find myself marveling at how much of my own childhood I can remember as I get older. Jrue and Jai get bigger each time they sleep; it feels like it was just yesterday, after all, when the hubs and I were childless and dreamy.
They say childhood goes “fast.” Just how fast is “fast” is up for interpretation.
Hint: It’s much faster than we think.
I am a believer in taking in moments, inhaling occasions with my human senses so that memories can be replayed in living color, at will, later. Childhood contains numberless opportunities to seek and store. My children are at the ages when any nonactivity breds boredom, so we encourage as much creative autonomy and quality time as possible. As we do so, our children internalize milestones, hopefully happy ones, that they will be able to recall in the future. They discover the preciousness of childhood in the fleet of time. Simultaneously, we add to our memory banks as parents through observation and interaction.
It is essential for us to be the keepers of our children’s childhoods. We must maintain a safe, clean, loving environment for them at all times, as the bare minimum, but I also consider securing their innovation, development, intellect, innocence, and laughter to be amongst the top on the list of responsibilities, too. This level of obligation is not impossible to sustain, but is definitely difficult, especially when one multiplies kid quantity.
However, it’s worth it.
A 2016 article published on the website Kidspot points to details surrounding what most people know to be true about the importance of a “decent” childhood: Happy kids grow up to be relatively happy adults. “Memory experts say that it’s the way an experience makes a person feel, rather than the experience itself, that makes the most impact,” the article explains. “As a rule, it is emotionally charged events in our lives that take up room in the old memory banks. Experts suggest that impression of having had a happy childhood is associated with greater social connectedness, enhanced sense of self, and healthy behaviours later in life.” (“How important is a happy childhood,” 2016)
I like to use the valuable lyrics from the English children’s folk song, “The Wheels on the Bus,” to symbolize how meaningful childhood is. The versions over time have been numerous; additions to the song have increased in count and complexity. Meanwhile, the “classic” version usually includes musical references regarding the wipers that go swish, the horn that goes beep, the people that go up and down, the baby that goes “wah,” and the mommy that goes “shh.” I stand by this adaptation in this instance.
The bus itself is a life in a compact space. Alternatives regarding the double-decker variety or the minibus or the luxury liner depend upon circumstance and standing. The wheels are stages in time, aimed to keep life rolling forward regardless of the physical condition of any one or all of the wheels. “All through the town” is the mortal pathway in the infiniteness of existence that each human treks on.
All of the bus’s events are junctures in (on) life. The wipers swishing can represent particular attempts to distract the eyesight from excursions ahead. However, when used, wipers save us from terrific weather danger, so the temporary diversion may not always be a bad thing. We get used to wipers after a few minutes. Additionally, the horn on the bus must be applied to further cautiousness and a diligence forward. Without a horn, our lives can run upon anything or anyone too quickly or not quickly enough, causing undue conflict or missed chances.
The people who bump along on the bus are those who load and unload in their seasons. People stow and depart our lives as often as their particular bus stops come around. Some carry all sorts of heavy baggage and sit them around; some are as light as their arrival at the very next stop. Some ride on and off repeatedly; some remain forever.
The baby crying on the bus symbolizes inevitable distress. These are times in life that make us sad, chaotic, or troubled. They happen suddenly, without previous warning, but will halt once the cause of affliction has been identified and corrected. I like to equate the mommy to our conscious beings. Depending on how spiritually grounded a life is will determine if that “shushing” reassurance can even be heard. It takes a lot to be in silence and to hear messages, particularly because so much else is happening on the bus. But to truly overcome who knows how many issues as we move ahead, we must sometimes ignore the everyday action for a short time to listen to that quieting, comforting consolation.
The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round…all through childhood…all through the town.
“How important is a happy childhood?” Kidspot, Oct. 4, 2016, https://www.kidspot.com.au/parenting/child/child-development/how-important-is-a-happy-childhood/news-story/dc777e2a973d833a14702e950979c979. Accessed May 6, 2018.