As I get ready for work, my five-year old hands me a piece of paper with her drawings and says, “Daddy, this is for your office.” I tell her that my office is full of her gifts, drawings and stuffed toys, and I am not sure where I will find room.
She smiles and tells me, “I know; just fold it and put it in a drawer”.
When I get to work, this new piece of art, now sits atop a bookshelf and occupies a very visible part of a collage, that makes up my life.
Some eight years ago, when my (now) fifteen-year old came to spend the day with me, she wrote me a note that’s still at my workplace, with the her favorite dolphin toy. Her handwriting has changed – and so has her expressions of feelings. But every time I see that note, I see my little girl, with cropped dark hair, smiling wide and running towards me saying “Daddeeeeee”.
As we grow older, our lives become intertwined with so many different emotions; in addition to the infrequent joyful moments of life, sometimes, complexity engulfs us, loneliness surrounds us, pain scratches through our pores like shreds of glass; it’s these simple messages and scribbles that bring back undiluted joy of a brighter day – of a day we remember so fondly.
Someone told me once that patients with dementia, as they lose their memories, love to walk around in circles and see photographs of their pleasant past life. I believe, we all feel the same way. Each picture, each memento, brings back a memory of the fragrances of a joyous moment or the taste of delicious life, served on the platter of time.
Sitting at the intersection of my “mid-life”, I realize that my memory making years, with my princess, with scribbles and squabble, pitter-patter joy of everyday activities, is nearing an end.
Soon, she will grow up, in five or six years, she will prefer her friends more than her parents – will argue over spending the night at a friend’s place, and want to go to the concerts and parties, where we just can’t be part of the picture.
This happened in our lives when we were growing up. We were anxious to grow older, hang with friends, drive and leave home to define our own future. In two and a half years, my fifteen-year old, will do something very similar, leaving holidays and special occasions for us to maybe enjoy together. This sweet, yet sad departure makes us wonder, where the time went by.
Since I can’t control the passage of time, the only thing left, is to fill the time with as much of these graffiti, that I can.
I can’t wait for the next picture that Shania will gift me.