Children Are Little Explosions

They grow up so fast

From William Blake’s Songs Of Innocence And Of Experience

Today I was looking at my daughter and I could almost see her adult face. I’m always looking for it, like, who are you? She was in baby jeans and a college t-shirt and she looked so big. Then she peed herself and the moment was gone.

They’re little explosions, these children. They hurtle out from a clump of cells, out of her body, into your arms. You can hold them for a bit while they finish baking, but as soon as they start moving, they’re moving away.

I still remember when she couldn’t move at all. Those were some of my favorite times. She was all mine, and I could also be on my phone. Now I have to negotiate for a hug.

Their minds are hurtling outwards even faster. Today she was playing in an imaginary world, feeding and raising two baby bats, and I realized that her imagination is already bigger than mine. I have a better grasp of the ‘real’ world, but that’s really a knowledge of limits. I know what you can’t do, what’s impossible. Her mind is blown well beyond that.

When she was a newborn she didn’t know anything, and then we were teaching her and bringing her interesting stuff to perceive,(black-and-white books! a pinwheel!) but now she’s generating more than she’s given. She’s creating her own perceptions, things and connections I don’t even understand.

An edited version of plate 14 from William Blake’s Marriage Of Heaven And Hell

As Blake said, via Huxley, via the Doors:

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”

I don’t think my daughter is tripping on mescaline, or the general high of being a white man in Victorian England, but she does have more imagination then me, in my cavern, looking through the chink that is my smartphone.

You spend the day trying to keep them clean and fed and just waiting till they go to sleep. Sometimes you just want to drink champagne and eat raspberry muffins and look at Blake manuscripts. Sometimes you don’t stop and see the little Big Bang in front of you.

I love her and I miss her no matter which direction I look. I miss the baby she was, I miss the adult she will be, coming home from college, wanting to get away. I want to remember her like this forever but I know it’s impossible. My parents definitely don’t look at me the same way anymore. At some point you’re just another person, fixed in the firmament of reality - which is stable, polite, doesn’t piss itself, gives you time to check your phone. But I don’t want her to be another person, I don’t want to be another person to her.

These children are little explosions. From the moment they’re born, they’re going away.