I didn’t expect to spend so much of my parenting years alternating between delight, awe, and terror. In my memories of motherhood so far, moments of indescribable joy mix with moments of utter despair. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
Kids growing up is the best and worst thing.
I want to freeze time, to capture the perfection of a toothy giggle or a cozy morning snuggle for all eternity. Rewarding feelings, but of course, such is parenthood. So many things are out of our control, which is both healing and terrifying at the same time. My kids are growing up, so fast. [ I could just sit there and stare at them all day; but I have stuff to do… always ] Being a parent is like letting your heart walk around outside your body. This is always a touchy subject for me. Most of the time being a parent means feeling some frustration that your child won’t listen to you, or annoyed that you can’t do anything without a child hanging off you, or happy because you have had a good day with them, and bottom line you love them. When you love your child as much as you do and should; you realize you are completely vulnerable, that your whole life could be destroyed in a second. [ this world we live in, is sometimes a terrible place. ]
Or one day, like now, you just start to feel a little weepy and you don’t know why until someone says “He’s getting so big” and you realize that your baby is looking so long lately, with his legs like a little frog, his scrawny figure , and one day soon he won’t think you’re the actual greatest, best person in the world anymore and he won’t yell your name out of sheer excitement when you come into a room and he won’t beg to sleep snuggled up against you anymore because he is growing up. [ sad face ]
[ PS I ain’t no helicopter mother; this shit hurts the heart! ]
Or when you see him hurting and you wonder what it will feel like when his problems are real, like when he gets his heart broken instead of being upset that his pants have no pockets, and you realize this whole parenting thing is a lifetime of goddamn pain you’ve willingly signed up for. [ no regrets ]
Occasionally, I have felt an odd impulse to be angry at my children for growing up, as if they’re doing it on purpose, as if they could stop it if they wanted to. Thinking about it, it doesn’t make sense, but neither do many things about parenting. At other times, I’ve wished I could speed up the whole process, to fast-forward through whatever annoying ages or painful stages my kids are/were going through. The absolute BEST CASE SCENARIO, this human being that you love so much will grow apart from you, and leave your home, and maybe roll his eyes when you contact him on whatever future technology we’re all carrying around then. Because of course you don’t want your grown child to need you too much; your best parenting decisions are supposed to keep you from creating some kind of unstable man-baby who loves his mother too much, but just a little you wish you could live in this moment right now forever. But watching your kids grow up hurts. The empathy you feel as your children try to figure out their life and learn hard lessons in the process; that alone is enough. But the questioning whether or not you’ve done enough, taught enough, supported enough, pushed enough; that adds a whole other dimension to it.
I wonder if every little thing I do with my son is “the last time” [ especially Lachlan vs. me ratio; the kid is a SOLID kid ] and I think I’m freaking my kid out by saying he’s getting too heavy for me to pick him up. ‘ I will be really sad when I don’t fit on your lap anymore ‘ he constantly tells me as he has me in a head locked hug. He wants to live with me forever; I always tell him he will change his mind like his uncles, but I really don’t try too hard to convince him. I try not to be annoyed when I have no room to breathe for myself, and when I don’t get a moment’s peace; I mean it won’t be the last time but because I know he won’t want my attention forever.
And I guess, like so many big truths in life, we just have to try not to think about it too much.
But now my heart is walking around outside my body and he turns 5 years old in June and starts kindergarten in September. I want to live with him so close to me forever.
I want them to grow up, but at the same time, I don’t.
I want them to be independent and thrive on her own, but I don’t want to let them go far.
Watching my kids grow up. It truly is the best and the worst thing life has given me.