The other night I was checking on Simon before I went to bed, and wondered why I still do it, or what I'm really checking for. I tend to cover him up if he's squirmed out of the covers, but for all I know that was intentional. I was kind of shocked at how enormous he looked. Then I saw an old video of him, when he was 2, dipping tiny pieces of non-choking hot dog in ketchup and saying, "Dip, dip." His baby laugh and "Simonese" were adorable.
We'll never experience that again, and this reality causes great sadness for me. I've generally taken entering my 40's in stride, and even feel that it has some advantages, but this thing about my kid growing up fast is hard. He's half way to high school graduation in terms of age, 9 down, 9 to go. We already got a late start, and additional children (likely by adoption) would push parenting into our 70's, which we don't want, but it's still sad.
If there's any particular thing that stands out about the early parenting, it's how no advice that anyone gives you is useful, and any preparation for it landed somewhere between pointless and useless. The day that little creature enters your life, you're pretty much on autopilot and you do whatever instinct suggests you need to do. Then as soon you figure something out, there's enough change in the next week that you have to figure it out all over again. This cycle repeats until at least 5 or 6, and soon the physically exhausting ass-wiping and barfing is replaced with the mentally exhausting thing about your little person having opinions and strong feelings.
Simon got sick tonight, pushing a fever of 100 degrees, with a cough that wouldn't quit. My often adversarial little boy just wanted me to help him feel better, and for now he needs someone who will rub his back and tell him that he's going to be OK. Those days are numbered, I know, and for me it causes a lot of anxiety about being a better dad while I still have time. There's just so little time.