Lately, I’m feeling anxiety about my son growing up so fast. I have literally lost sleep due to the thoughts of it. Maybe it’s because he went through a massive growth spurt where he grew four sizes in 6 months. One morning, I placed my hand on his head and had him stand in front of me. He was up to my shoulders. Two days later, I did it again, and he was up to my chin. Oh, please stop growing…
Of course, we want our children to grow up to become independent and flourish in life. I’m just not quite ready to let go of those little boy days. As I tossed and turned in my bed, I began panicking about the next couple years. I started running through my mind all of the things that captivates a young child and how it will soon wither away in time. In two years, he’ll be graduating from Elementary school. He’ll stop believing in Santa Claus and all those wonderful magical characters that brought him joy each year. He’ll stop simple play with action figures and creating imaginary forts. He’ll stop showing affection in public and bringing home crayon drawings of hearts. He will no longer find blowing bubbles or tickle time to be fun. Everything continues to change from there. Everything that was fun, innocent and careless starts to fade away.
At that point, he’ll be reaching middle school and those pre-teen years. That’s when his attitude will change. His voice will also begin to change into a raspy squeak. He’ll want a cell phone. He’ll want to join social networks such as Facebook. I’ll have to worry even more about bullying and fights. Then, soon it’ll lead into wanting a job, girlfriend, and car. His hormones will change his attitude and perspectives. I’ll have to worry more about his friends and influences. He will expect a lot from me and be more demanding. He’ll think he knows more than me and will persistently try to prove it to me. Believe me, I fear that stage of parenting and the struggles that it entails. I can hope and wish all that I want that this stage won’t happen, but it will. Honestly, it scares me. My son and I have such a wonderful bond, that I just couldn’t fathom it being on pins and needles. Yet, I know that it happens to everyone.
For the past 8 years, anyone that has crossed my path knowing that I’m a mom will always say, “Enjoy it while it lasts”. My response enthusiastically would be, “Oh, I know”. Yet, they are persistent, “No, you have no idea. I mean it when I say, enjoy it while it lasts“. Regardless who says that commonly used phrase, it normally follows with them hanging their heads. I can sense their emotion behind those words. Children grow up so quickly, yet these people forget who they are as they have been parenting for so long. They are coping with the loss of those tiny faces, the uplifting laughter, the pitter-patters of feet, the silliness that keeps them young and the wonderful personalities that remind them of a younger self. They’re living with the regrets of not appreciating what little time they had with their children and not relishing in the moments. Children are what make the world seem innocent and not as corrupted. Everything bad goes away in the world within the presence of children. Without them, how can we deal with these cruel realities? So, I can sense how these people are feeling. My response was truthful and heartfelt.
Only one woman had accepted my answer. The mother of four had explained, “I get it. I have four boys. My oldest, it seemed like time was slower with him because I actually spent more time with him before the other three came along. The time with them seems to be going by so fast. Then, when the oldest three will be gone, I’ll still have my youngest, and then time will go slow again”. I smiled and completely understood what she was saying. It was easier to just focus on the one, life gets hectic and you feel so disarranged, especially with four children – that’s a lot to keep up with. Most importantly, she understood me, “See, you only have one. I couldn’t imagine how hard that is for you. Your bond is just so close because it has only been you two this whole time”.
Sometimes, I regret the things that I didn’t do with my son. Why didn’t I have more patience when he was younger? Why did I rush him into taking showers over bath time? Why didn’t I push myself to play with him more? Why didn’t I finish school so I could have provided a better life for us?
Regrets continue to pour in, and I’m sure I’ll develop more as I continue this journey of parenthood. However, I have to remind myself that my son is healthy and happy. I am truly his world as he is mine. If I honestly look back, I have nothing to really worry about. We witnessed our very first waterfall together, we had picnics together, we played sports together, we dance together, he always got what he wanted for Christmas, we are Minecraft pros, I’ve taken him to many different events for fun and I continue to find simple ways to connect us. I have videos and photos to validate that our lives are amazing. I just wish it would last forever. If I could keep him young, then I can continue to teach him things and feel like I am fulfilling my purpose in life. However, because I love him, I have to let him keep finding who he is in life and becoming the man he’s supposed to be. So, I’ll continue to enjoy it while it lasts…