Moments Stolen From Time

My eyes welled up with tears as I watched my friends feed their son carrot purée for the first time in his life or theirs.  We were in their kitchen.  The baby, some six months old, sat in his high chair near the glass kitchen table.  Short blond hair curled about his head.  He gazed out at the world through blue eyes, and slobber dripped from his moistened lips.  His mother sat in a chair beside him while his father stood watching them both from three feet away.  The father grabbed the digital camera and snapped photos as the mother raised tiny spoonfuls of orange purée to their son’s mouth.  He licked his lips and frowned, then stared into space, lost in contemplation of this new texture, this new taste on his tongue that we call “carrot”, but that to him had never existed until that moment.  Mother and father alternated; one fed, one took pictures.  Both smiled.  Both laughed.  Eventually the baby smiled, too, though whether in reaction to the food or to his parents’ laugher, I didn’t know. 

I held back tears because I realized that I was watching a moment that is repeated thousands of times each day all over the world.  But here, in my friends’ kitchen, mother, father, and baby were experiencing it for the first time.  It didn’t matter that for millennia parents had fed their children and laughed with them.  For these two parents and for this family, it was all happening as if for the first time in history.

In my mind there flashed images of the times I had spent with my two good friends, chatting for hours in bars about subjects heavy and light, singing karaoke, and drinking our first margaritas together, days after we first met.  I remembered my friends as just a happy couple.  Now, before me, I saw the image of a happy family: a cute blond-haired kid and two parents who loved him as I may never love anyone, unless I have kids of my own.  And I saw their son ten, fifteen, twenty years in the future.  I saw him kicking soccer balls and chasing lizards, snatching spiders from sidewalks and thrusting them in the face of his terrified mother.  I saw him throwing a frisbee with the family Labrador, dressing up for prom, and driving off to college to find himself and his passions.  And I saw his parents accompanying him through it all, still laughing, sometimes scolding, always loving him. 

In that moment, while the father took pictures of his wife feeding their son tiny spoonfuls of carrot purée, I imagined both of them, some day in the distant future, flipping through a photo album—paper or digital, it doesn’t matter—and resting their eyes on the photos they took in the far-off past, when for the first time they fed their son puréed carrots.  And I imagined them tearing up the way I did when I saw them take those photos, when they stole from the clutches of time a moment I’ll always remember.    

Now, my friends have a new son, with thick brown hair and eyes that open as slits, perhaps pondering this new world of radiant light.  How is the baby to know whether he or the whole world itself was born just days ago?   A new story begins, with new photos and first moments to fill its pages.  I may never have kids, but I feel fortunate to have shared in these sacred moments and the happiness that flows out of them.

About atomsofthought
Photographer. Traveler. Writer. Reader.

12 Responses to Moments Stolen From Time

  1. Pamanner says:

    Awh, beautiful…brought me back to when my children were small. I tried not to take anything for granted and my son he loved to wear his ravioli so he’d eat in his diaper! It’s those seemingly mundane, daily events that are spiritual and, if we are tuned in, we won’t have regrets! I know I don’t! Sounds like you have great friends who share their special family times with you 🙂

  2. Nick,
    Those precious moment in a family’s life are priceless and beautiful to experience and behold. I hope you do have a child one day. There is nothing like experiencing those moments when it is you, your own flesh and blood.

  3. Alejandro says:

    Beautiful and sad… I completely changed when mine arrived at 40 years of age


  4. StrandedMike says:

    I’m single, with little scope of getting hitched any time soon (leave alone having a kid). However, I can imagine what you felt there through the words you’ve written, and it is a beautiful feeling. 🙂

    • Thank you! Yeah, I don’t know when or if I’ll get to the point of having kids. I just remember getting lost in the moment I wrote about. I’m a sucker for common occurrences made novel by circumstances and the innocence of those who are experience them for the first time.

  5. skippingstones says:

    I thought I was going to cry just reading it! I love the idea of stealing a moment from time. So many small, normal, but magical moments happen in our lives, that just pass by so quickly. You have to stop the clock and take notice.

    Also, not having children myself, I really revel in the moments that I get to share like the one you described. It is a true blessing to witness that and be a part of it. I don’t take it for granted. Clearly, you don’t either.

    • I agree. It is a blessing. Sometimes I feel like I’m reality recording itself, if that makes any sense. Of course, that would be true of all of us. But in moments like the one with my friends, I feel a heightened sense of the universe peeking in on itself.

  6. skippingstones says:

    “…I feel a heightened sense of the universe peeking in on itself.”

    see what i mean? does it just fall out of you?

    • That one just kind of sprang into my head, but it’s a case where it took me a bit to word it right!

      • skippingstones says:

        good – I am trying not to feel too inferior. But I can live with that. Sometimes what I have in my head is hard to get out on the page. The idea is right, the picture or feeling of it, but the words don’t convey it as I wish.

  7. Well-written. Such moments connect us with the universe…

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