One of the more poignant things about parenting is the constant push/pull of time. Pushing it forward. Pulling it back. Rushing to the next phase. Holding on tight. I marvel at my ability to be joyful and mournful at the same time over any given moment. The first day of school. A “milestone” birthday. A loose tooth. Joyful, because they are mostly happy, celebratory occasions. Mournful? I don’t know why. Even as I write this I can’t figure out why I ever feel sad as my children grow. Personally, I have never wanted them to be any other age than the age they were right then and there (yes, even during the teenage years).
Each age always brings its hurdles and frustrations, but also with it a new level of accomplishments and independence. It’s not only a great achievement for a child to feed himself but doesn’t it also make life easier? So why do we feel so sad putting away those bottles and baby spoons?
For me, one of those sadder “passages” would occur each time Chelsea and Conor would tell me that they were “too old” to visit a place that we had previously made a tradition of. The park. The zoo. The holiday train show. Those were real markers that they were growing up and seeking activities separate and apart from me.
So the arrival of Noah has been especially meaningful in that I get to re-visit cherished places, and see them again through a new set of eyes – as I’ve written before, the ultimate “do-over”. I had just such an experience on a recent “Thursday with Noah”.
The Hall of Science was an oft-visited and beloved destination when Chelsea and Conor were little. And although Noah was still a bit young to appreciate most of the exhibits and hands-on features, the day was glorious and the playground beckoned – so off we went!
The Hall of Science was the site of the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and there are two real NASA rocket ships from the fair, on display outside:
We headed straight for the playground, and though mostly geared toward older children, Noah had a ball:
Inside? Just as I remembered it – two giant floors filled with hands-on displays and exhibits, all designed to teach children about science and technology. Noah took a quick turn at playing chemist:
and we headed to the “Preschool Place” – perfect for my little guy. There was a huge train set,
giant tubes for building,
utensils for cooking,
(did someone say bins?)
and a great big area for block-building.
It was a great day – I can’t wait to bring Noah back as he gets older, and can appreciate more of what the museum has to offer.
I truly feel so lucky that I get to do this all over again, and that – on a very rare occasion – I can even get my two “big kids” to come along:
How about you? I’d love to know how you feel about the different stages of parenting, and if you experience that same “push/pull” of time – please share!