Monday, May 4, 2009

The Trip From Birth to 18

In the beginning, when you have your first child, you're so excited. You drag that poor, defenseless little baby around with you everywhere. You show him off to anyone who chances to look in his direction, expounding on all the wonderful baby things he can do. You arrange your schedule around time spent with him, and more often than not find yourself making up excursions just to take him somewhere. You love holding him, hugging him all the time, and never wanting to put him down or let him go.

Somewhere around the toddler/early childhood years, you begin yearning for those days when you had a few minutes to yourself. You only feel a little guilty for leaving him with Dad or Grandma so that you can go to the grocery store alone. You still arrange your schedule around him, although that is due more to school and activity scheduling than any conscious effort to spend time with him. You probably don't realize that hugs have gotten shorter and he climbs off your lap before you set him down, as you're already off to the next agenda item in your world.

Then those preteen years hit, and you not only yearn for time spent alone, you are actively planning it. You justify it by telling yourself that you've already devoted so much of your life to him that you deserve a few hours alone each week. And of course you do! You are still arranging your life around his; and between school and multiple extra activities you no longer find yourselves with extra time on your hands. And when you look back on this time, you'll see that hugs have become quick mini-squeezes on his way out the door to catch the bus or play with friends, and that when you blinked he became too big to sit on your lap any longer.

And then suddenly, you find yourself with a teenager. You wake up one morning and realize that you only really have a short couple of years left with him before he moves on to adulthood, beginning his own life. Sure, he could drive himself to and from sports practice, but you find yourself offering just so that you can have a few minutes spent with him. You're once again showing him off to everyone, bragging about all of his accomplishments and successes. You consciously arrange your schedule around his, trying to snag some of his precious time away from friends and girlfriends. You hear yourself making up stupid things about how science has proven that hugging your mom at least once a day is good for your health, just to get a decent hug out of him. When he does revert to being a little boy for just a bit, laying his head in your lap, you willingly let the dishes sit in the sink and the laundry walk itself to the washer, feeling your legs go numb, just to keep him there for as long as possible.

Because once again, you realize that you never want to let him go.

4 comments:

T said...

My youngest (5) tells me multiple times per day "I love you SO MUCH mom"... she cheers me up...

My oldest (14) keeps me more grounded... but if I think hard enough I can remember his sweet and cute phase of life too...

Karen said...

*sniff* That was wonderful.

Sunrunner said...

That is beautifully written!

Tina said...

Every now and then, mine will walk up and look down (because he's taller than me) at me and say in a "little boy" voice, "I love you mommy". Yeah... mommy.