We take and keep so many photos of our young ones. We sing their praises on Facebook. And as we get older, a distance develops. It is not noticeable at first, but it grows. When we finally notice it, we blame puberty. But it was there always. Because our children are not who they once were.
In the English language there is a confusing and yet beautiful conjugating distinction between how a verb is changed and how many people are being talked about. In most tenses we change the verb based on who is involved. Is the subject myself? Use the be verb “am”. Is this about 1 thing or person? Use the “be” verb is. Add an “s” to the end of action verbs. Are there a lot of people involved? Use “are”. And if we are talking about you, remember that the singular is trumped by the plural so that unlike older times, you is always attached to “are” and treated like “they”. But not when you enter the past tense.
You see, who you were in the past is not who you are today. We say “I was”, as if we are talking about a different person entirely. There is no past tense of “am”. Who I am today is not who I was. And that applies to our children.
I remember a time when my son Dean had made one hundred dollars in birthday money from his relatives. And he wanted to spend it on a game. There was a battle mech he could buy that he couldn’t earn. And he needed it. He was so upset. It was both horrifying and cute. And I worry that it is one of the memories that will leave me as I get older. Because I want to remember all of the people he has been.
Like Doctor Who, we die and regenerate, becoming new people constantly based not just on our genes, but also our experiences. We learn and grow. We adapt. And sometimes we pine for younger days. We look at the photos scattered over our homes and ask, “What happened?”
To truly capture that moment in time, we must write. We must record. We must interact and create with who they are now so that, unlike a photograph, we can see and feel that person they once were. Do this and have not just a work of art from your child, but a snapshot of their mind. Not just a time and place, but a real record of how they thought and who they were. And do it now, if possible, because these are the chaotic halcyon years in which we work and work for hope to access lonely futures without them. Do better than photos. Take a picture of their mind.
Damien Hanson writes a variety of stories and hopes that you and your young ones will also. While his adult stuff is not meant for children you can find his children’s tales under his pen name Dames Handsome. His son Dean Hanson has also told a tale called Nightmare Spider Apocalypse and that can be found on Amazon as a softcover, ebook, or on Kindle Unlimited.
Feel free to check out his kids website at https://litrpgkids.mailchimpsites.com/ and if your child writes a chapter book of 15,000 or more words feel free to ask me to include them on the site. And as always, have a wonderful week!