Time flies when you’re having fun.
Everyone knows this oft-used cliché, right? It’s right up there on the list of most used phrases with plenty of other oldies but goodies like ‘Better late than never’ or ‘There’s no place like home’.
But I’d like to suggest we change it to something all parents can relate to: ‘Time flies when you’ve had children’. Because as it turns out, Time is like the ultimate gold medallist that returns every Games, competing in every single event and smashing every last record, bar none. Flying like the freaking wind.
And, even more impressively, Time does all of this before you’ve even realised you’ve swapped teething rings for Nintendo DS/PS3/XBox consoles. How’s that for over-achieving, hey?
I find myself reflecting over this notion today as we celebrate the birthday of the youngest member of our household. Number Three Son has just turned the amazing age of 11 which is great; it’s just that I’m having a little trouble adjusting. I can’t quite reconcile the fond memory of my gorgeous, chunky toddler of a little over a decade ago with the almost-taller-than-me but still gorgeous, lean young boy of today. Not to mention the world of intelligent potential sparkling in his eyes and an inner capacity to be anything he sets his mind to. He has grown infinitely overnight, it seems.
We’ve certainly travelled the road of highs and lows over the past eleven years. Lately, it’s been mostly highs, as we continue to be amazed and blown away by how far he has come since those early days. For those who don’t know, at two and a half, our beautiful boy was diagnosed with mild Autism Spectrum Disorder. At the time we were devastated, as you would be. No-one wants to hear the news that there’s a problem with your child. But later on, after we’d had time to adjust and get our heads around the whole thing, we realised we were actually a little relieved; at last we had a name for what we knew was different about him. For me that was crucial because it meant I finally had a place where I could start to look for help. As soon as I realised that, I knew the only way was up.
So you can understand why we’ve treasured the milestones a little more than most with him, and he keeps on ticking the boxes of achievements with an extremely satisfying regularity. Even tonight, I sat and watched him as he attended his twice-weekly karate class. For the very first time, it was he who led the class in their end of session Dojo Kun (Rules of the Dojo). His deep voice rang out strong and clear, each word spoken perfectly and with confidence. It was brilliant and his delighted grin and big hug at the end of the class told me he knew it had been, too.
So while the chunky, Michelin-Man-style toddler has disappeared, and the taller, more athletic frame like his brothers has taken its place, all is not lost. In his world, it’s always perfectly okay to hug your mother even if you’re a newly aged 11 year-old boy.
And that’s something that Time can’t and won’t ever change. Happy birthday, darling boy.