Monday, September 13, 2010

In the Blink of an Eye

I've heard it a million times - "They grow so fast," "It's over before you know it," "Blink and you'll miss their childhood." But just like anything else that makes perfect sense, I choose to ignore it and carry on with the here and the now as if it's the most important thing in the world.

Usually, this approach works well during parenthood because living in the here and now means that tomorrow is another new day. Another day to wipe the slate clean and start over, preferably with all the kitchen dishes done, right? Another day to work on manners and chores and being a good human being. Another day to impose my values upon my children, whether they like it or not.

Yes, living in the here and the now means that we all get a do-over. And it also means that whatever horribly awful thing you just experienced (like opening the screen door to discover 5 salted slug carcasses) will be gone tomorrow (hopefully).

Tomorrow also means that your kids will be another day older. Another day farther away from babyhood and the days when your touch (and maybe a binky) was all they needed to soothe their bad mood. Now it's anyones guess.

At least around here it is.

I never know what to expect with each new day. I can observe the lunar cycles, check how many days it is until a birthday, anticipate certain things, but I can't predict my children's moods. I can't tell them that if they are a good person, honest and fair, that it will all be okay...because now they're old enough to know that isn't always the case.

Except for the six year-old...she still believes most of what I say.

I can't protect them from everything. I can't follow them everywhere they go. They are growing up, much too quickly. Part of me is proud, happy and glad that independence has replaced the constant need for help but when I find myself asking them (particularly the older one) for advice on how to navigate my cell phone or to help with a chore, I want to run and hide in the closet, rock back and forth and repeat "they're still my babies, they're still my babies" until I've finally convinced myself that it must be true. They're still my babies.

And now with my youngest in school ALL DAY LONG, I find myself vacant. Lost. Alone.

My mom says to enjoy, to take a 4 hour long bubble bath. I'm sure that one of these days that will appeal to me but for now I only feel like taking out their baby books and reading about when they first ate rice cereal, their first words, first steps. . .

Because in the blink of an eye. . .

It happens.

They grow.

When I was tucking Katie in bed last week she grabbed my cheeks and asked me to say something. I thought she was being sweet. Turns out, she was trying to get me to make a funny face...typical. But after that, I hugged her tight and asked her if she'd always be my baby.

"Of course I will." She answered. "But I'm gonna grow mom . . . and change too. But I'll always be your baby. Even when I'm OLD."

She's pretty smart, for a first grader.


alice c said...

I never minded the time when they were at school because it gave me the opportunity to get ready for the super-charged, high impact time when they were at home. Evenings, weekends, holidays - it was more than enough time to be a full time mum. The day time was for getting my hair cut without interruption.

Karen said...

OK now you've done it. You've officially made me into a sobbing wet mess! As I wipe the tear from my eye so I can see what Im typing, I want to thank you for reminding me of what I already know. My oldest is 26 years old...and as I think of your really WAS in the blink of an eye. And my daughter is now going to be 6 in October, so I have a chance to do it all again.
Thank you for reminding me to remember.

April said...

Dude ~ we have GOT to get you out more!!!


I know. I know.

Can you believe my oldest is 16 1/2 & the Pipsqueak is turning 12 on Friday!

Of course, it just takes the teenager's hormones to snap me right out of the sappy state of mind into the "how much longer before he outgrows this?"

I know I'll miss them once they have left me with a huge empty house ~ but until then, I'll have days when I wish it would slow down & days where I can't wait till they have their own children!

Such is our circle of life :)

Jennifer said...

My Kadie is now 26 years old and has a baby of her own. She will always be my baby - and would totally agree with me!

andrea frazer said...

I totally totally TOTTALLY get it. I want another one so badly. But it's not happening. I'm going to have to deal with the 7 and 6 year old growing and changing before my eyes.

At least your daughter touched your face and wanted you to make you laugh. My son told me last year, "Mommy, I love you so much, that when you die, I'm going to make a craft out of you!"

Trinity said...

It's so touching, I know I'll come to that stage of parenthood but for now I'm still enjoying my kid. Though she's only 3, I do think of that as well, like you it makes me cry. But then it happens, I just hope my baby girl won't grow-up that fast...