There is a fear that lurks at the back of my mind. It is always there. Most days I can push it away, almost forget about but every so often, something will bring it back into sharp focus. Sometimes the triggers are completely unexpected – a photograph glimpsed, a line spoken in a movie, a chance remark overheard.
This time, it was seeing one of Jessica’s preschool T-shirts from last term whilst folding the laundry away. Summer clothes, starting to be put away as the seasons change. An acute reminder of time passing by; and with it a stark realisation of the fragility of life.
A dozen memories flashing through my mind – sports day, days out at Legoland, trips to the park, picnics in the garden. My daughter’s beautiful smiling face, her joy, her zest for life shining through. So many happy memories. A sense of sadness for a summer that has gone, for moments that now exist only as memories.
Sophie’s summer clothes do not affect me in the same way. It is not just the passage of time, not just the bittersweet realisation that my little ones are growing so quickly, not just the end of summer that brings me to tears. It is the fear that nags at me, the fear of what my little world may look like when summer comes again. It is the fear of the unknown, of the steps in the journey that have yet to be taken. It is the reminder of those times when we lived from moment to moment, those days spent next to a cot in the paediatric intensive care unit, not knowing what the next hour would bring. The knowledge that one day soon, my child’s life will once again be in the hands of a surgeon.
It is something that I try not to think about if I can help it. Sometimes though, the fear of what the future may hold threatens to overwhelm me. These are the moments when all I want to do is stop time from passing by, to hold this moment, the here and now and to make it last as long as possible. I cannot stop time, I cannot change what the future holds, but I can have hope, and faith, and make the most of today.
And so today, I will hold my girls tightly, I will treasure those moments and store them in my heart. I will push away the fear and focus on the here and now. Today my girls are both here, today we can have fun together and make memories. I do not know what tomorrow will bring, but I won’t let the fear of it take the joy out of today.