Every day, my children leave behind a trail of change—for me, those changes morph into memories that I scramble to save and savor.I light candles on birthday cakes and snap pictures, laughing at my child’s delight—all the while swallowing back a lump in my throat forming at the thought of the thousand little goodbyes that day represents.Goodbye, pacifier, blankie, sippie cup, toddler bed. Goodbye, Little People and Playmobil. Goodbye, Dr. Seuss and Dora the Explorer.Goodbye, childhood.And yet, I know that I’ve deepened and matured through this life of goodbyes.When he was little, my son called oatmeal “opa-meal,” the Pledge of Allegiance the “fledge” of allegiance, and pancakes were “pampakes.”For a long time he said “pomatoes” for tomatoes.We were working on letter sounds with him one day. Studying black-line drawings of nouns that start with the “t” sound, he understood that each word began with that hard “t-t-t.””T-t-tire” he said while looking at the picture, then proudly glancing up for affirmation.”That’s right.””T-t-turtle.”“Yep.””T-t–what is that flower?””A tulip.””Oh! It’s pretty. T-t-tulip.”Keeping the rhythm, he looked at the next picture and said “P-p…” He stopped, realizing that he wasn’t making the “t” sound, even though he was pretty sure he was looking at a pomato. He started again, “P-p…” He stared at it. “What is this thing?” he asked.With the pang that accompanies goodbyes, I reluctantly said, “A t-t-tomato. It’s a to-ma-to.””Tomato?” He was perfectly capable of saying it.”Yes,” I sighed, “a tomato.””Oh. T-t-tomato.”Goodbye, pomato.
A Thousand Goodbyes
May 12, 2012 by 13 Comments