Just after Opal was born, I made a sport of lying in bed at night while envisioning what she would look like when she was older: 6 months, 9 months, 1 year. On the adventurous (or just plain sleepless) nights, I'd allow my mind to wander to the image of my baby sitting upright, maybe with teeth and walking, but my imagination couldn't carry me much beyond that. It was next to impossible back then to conceive of what life would look like by the time she reached her toddler years.
Now here she is—a wildly beautiful, full-throttle toddler-version of herself.
It recently occurred to me that no era of her life is immune to slipping through my fingers as does the fine, silken hair I'm constantly ruffling on her head. There will never be an age she'll hold on to indefinitely or a period she'll have the means to blatantly skip. She is on a journey with her very own, completely perfect rhythm that pulses forward as steady as the ticks of a metronome. And this rhythm cannot be tampered with: no rewinding, no speeding forward, no freeze-frame.
The gradual progression of life is so apparent when there's a child involved. As an adult, it's easy for notable-life to pass by in bulk chunks: the 4 years I was in college, the 3 years I was at my job, and so on. But the act of watching a child grow and develop physically, mentally and emotionally offers the endless reminder that so much is happening inside the smaller shreds and dashes of time.
I can't help but to consider that perhaps our grandest moments of success are not so much born from fireworks and foghorns as they are carefully and quietly germinated within a substantial collection of minutes and seconds.