My baby turned five last week. I’m sure you understand the gravity of that sentence, but allow me to say it again. My BABY turned FIVE last week. Like mothers since the dawn of time I am in awe of how swiftly this is all passing. Wasn’t I just realizing I was pregnant with him? Didn’t I bring him home just the other day? Weren’t his first steps last week? The answer to all of this is, of course, no. But it doesn’t FEEL like no. To me, and admittedly to my husband as well, my baby was just born, just learning to crawl and walk and ride a bike. But the truth is, in a few short weeks he will begin his first year of formal education. With each day he is casting off his baby traits and making space for growing up. As I sit here his baby voice – with its slight drawl and pronunciations like “kajmas” – is fading with away, his blonde curls are darkening and he loves his hair kept short and tight, and his body stretches itself further and further, eliminating the traces of baby fat he had and making clothes too small too fast. I am now seeing more glimpses of the young man he will become and less of the baby he was. It is breaking my heart.
Jill and I have talked about it before – how when you only have two kids you get a first time doing something, and a last time doing something. In a few weeks we will walk into the last kindergarten class ever for our little family. I won’t ever have slobbery baby kisses, or the delicious sight of a milk drunk baby. I also won’t ever have to change a diaper again, deal with the pain of potty training or weaning or sleep training. So silver linings. All the same, I must say I am mourning the loss of a baby in our home. You think I would have mourned this when we decided not to have anymore children and I had my tubes tied. But it’s been a five year delay of sadness that is now washing me over with ALL the feels about this little family of ours.
As I was preparing the house for Ben’s birthday party over the weekend I came across this photo of me blowing out the candles on my fifth birthday cake. Hours later my son blew out the candles on his birthday cake. And so it goes, because in the blink of an eye he might be watching his own kid blow out their fifth birthday candles. Time marches on. The word keeps spinning. And though my heart aches for my babies that are growing up so very fast I am so pleased with the humans they are becoming. I am happy they are deeply loved – not just by myself and their dad but by a network of family and friends who form this wonderful support system for them. They are so very safe. I am so grateful that they have access to the things they need, some of the stuff they want and the whole world in front of them. When people ask me how my day is going, I usually respond with “so far, so good” which is true for the parenting gig as well. So far, so good. I just wish it wasn’t going by so fast.