I have had an uneasy feeling for the last couple of months. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but every once in a while I would get a twinge of sadness or longing (I’m not sure if those are quite the right emotions since I couldn’t really figure myself out). It would usually hit when my kids were being good, snuggly or cute. I really thought I was going crazy. Why would I feel sad when my son comes up to me and says, “Mommy could we snuggle for five minutes before you make breakfast?” Tonight I figured out what has been slowly whittling at my heart.
Tonight I was giving Joe a bath. He went to get out and I offered him my hand like I always do to make sure he doesn’t slip while stepping out. Here was our conversation.
Joe: Mommy I can do it by myself. I won’t fall.
Me: OK well I was just trying to help.
Joe: I am a big boy and I can do it without slipping.
Me: What? A big boy? Where’s my baby?
Joe: Lilly is your baby.
Me: All of you are my babies but I suppose you are right. You are becoming a big boy.
Joe: Mom (please note what he called me…. little tear) I am not Peter Pan. I have to grow up someday.
Me: Very true son, very true.
That moment right there, that is when I figured out why in those sweet little moments I had pangs of sadness. My babies aren’t babies anymore and I can’t stop it from happening. For the past four years I have been “that lady with all those babies.” I know I get that label. It is OK. Four babies in less than three years, I just expect it. But now I am finding I have a new label. I am the mom with the three boys in the same class and a toddler on the hip. I know that’s crazy in itself, but it is a different feeling for me.
I look at my kids and I am constantly amazed at the changes I see daily. My three boys are in pre-k this year 5 days a week. For a SAHM who has had her little ones with her for four years, this is a big change. We are looking at our possible public school options in our area for kindergarten, and trying to prepare them for the rigorous demands that are coming their way. My daughter can hold a full conversation with me. I don’t know when it happened, but she is a major chatterbox. There are no more cribs in our house, YIKES! My sons are in bunk beds. Each time I think about these things, I can feel that little twinge of sadness creeping up.
After tonight, when I really figured out what has been bothering me, I decided how I am going to handle it. I am going to savor those moments. If it makes me a little sad, that’s ok. I am going to let myself look at them fondly and still see my babies’ eyes looking back at me no matter how old they get. I have decided to embrace what is coming next. I am so excited that we can start things like boy scouts or get involved in school clubs. Although I fear this unknown stage coming up, I am ready. I am ready to be the mom with all those kids instead of the mom with all the babies. I am going to let them enjoy their independence knowing that there will always be times even when they are adults, they will need their momma and I will always be there. None of them are young enough to be considered a baby, but forever in my heart my babies they will be.
Do you ever have moments when you look at your little one and realize just how big they are getting? How do you handle it?