Our children growing up so fast is breaking my brain

Darragh Geraghty: I’m trying not to panic. They’re growing up. That’s normal and we’re lucky

I don’t understand what’s happening. Not so long ago I watched, intrigued, as my son dragged a chair across the kitchen to the sink. He then climbed up, stretched his little body to open the press above, remove a cup, and climb back down. Then, pushing the chair out of the way, he opened the fridge, took out the orange juice, and shakily poured himself a nice cold cup.

He did all this without saying a word. He didn’t ask me for help or say he was thirsty. It might not sound like much, but watching him do all this made my heart feel like it was going to burst.

If feels like it could have been last week, but it must have been well over a year ago. Then today I watched the same scene unfold. Only this time no chair was needed. He just walked to the sink, stretched up, took out a cup, and confidently poured a glass. I just don’t understand it. How (and I mean how) did he get so tall, so quick?

I’ve been paying attention. At least, I thought I was paying attention. He’s so big. So aware of the world around him now.


When kids are young, a lot changes in a year. They learn, grow and develop at an incredible rate. One minute they’re sitting on the rug in front of you, struggling to click two Duplo blocks together. Then you blink and they’re running into a newsagents, all by themselves, to buy a pack of Premier League stickers. And maybe a Chupa Chup, if they have enough left over. Our kids were four and six years old. Now they’re five and seven. I can’t explain why, but that feels like a leap greater than a year.

I’m trying not to panic. They’re growing up. That’s normal and we’re lucky. When I feel like time is getting away from me, I close my eyes, take a deep breath... then panic anyway. The other day I noticed the buggy in the hall, and I realised something. We haven’t used the buggy in months. All of a sudden our daughter is too big and we don’t need it any more. It’s just been sitting there all this time, unused and unseen. When was the last time we used it? It must have been during the summer, but I don’t actually remember. I may never push a buggy again and I can’t remember when our daughter sat in it for the last time. That feels like something that should be acknowledged.

Once it’s on your mind, this obscenely fast passing of time, you see it everywhere. I just want to pause it all, just for a little while. Is that so much to ask? I simply want full control of the entire universe so I can make this weekend last a bit longer.

Reading about the making of The Princess Bride, I came across a passage by the great screenwriter William Goldman. He talked about telling stories to his daughters when they were small. He’d go into their room and tell story after story, just to be with them. Then he says, “All gone, of course, and of all the stuff I’ve done over almost 40 years of storytelling, more than anything I wish I had those moments back.”

It hasn’t yet been 40 years, but I know how he feels. I can sense it coming already. We’ve told bedtime stories every night for seven years. Now that I think about it, I may never stop. Is it weird to read a bedtime story to an 18-year-old? I’ll let you know in 2035.

In the local playground recently we played snakes and ladders on the huge board painted on the ground. The game didn’t last long but afterwards my son suggested we all run and stand on the square of our age. So he stood on seven, my daughter stood on five, and I stood all the way on the other side on 39. I was once again reminded of how I’m a visual learner. There it was, all laid out before me. All those years between us. All the years I’ve lived, and all the endless possibilities ahead for them.

I take a deep breath and try not to panic.