We've had my parents staying with me for the last week and it's been fabulous! I'm not just talking about the extra help with the boys, which has included me having a lie-in every single morning, and the fact that I haven't had to make a meal or even brew my own coffee for the whole visit, but also, and more importantly, the fact that sharing the boys with others makes me appreciate them on a whole new level.
Of course I find them cute and often marvel at their little ways, but when we're mired down in the mundanities of everyday living, it gets easy for all the days to blend together so that I miss little milestones or fleeting moments of loveliness. When I'm actively sharing the boys with someone else, though, all these things are noticed and marvelled over with appropriate delight.
I know I've blogged about this before, and I don't want to seem boring, but it really is a lovely thing to see your children through the eyes of others. As my parents only get to see them every couple of months or so, they are in a great position to notice all the little (and sometimes monumental!) changes that have taken place since their last visit.
Both of the boys are learning new words daily and growing up in so many ways. It all happens far too fast, but each time we visit my parents, or they visit us, it's like we take an extended snapshot of where we are all up to. My parents notice and comment on all of their cute little ways, and in that act of noticing, they record them orally for posterity.
When my nephews were little, we only got to see them infrequently as they lived abroad. I can vividly remember each of those visits, especially for my oldest nephew. I can even remember which clothes were associated with each visit when he was a baby. He had the green striped body suit when he was 5 months old and we took a beautiful picture of him lying on his tummy on the sofa. By the time he was 9 months there was a grey suit and he could pull himself up against the furniture in our living room. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have remembered these things in such detail if I was seeing him all of the time.
Now we all have digital cameras and video cameras so we can easily create permanent records of our children's early years but, in my mind, nothing beats memories, and nothing creates memories so well as special times that have been set aside for noticing and appreciating one another. My hope is that these visits with my parents will act as milestones in our lives as time passes, and that by remembering each visit, we will remember more clearly those beautiful details that seem so unforgettable at the time, but are nevertheless in danger of being dulled by the passing of years.