My oldest son is growing up…Last night as we sat on the couch I asked for cuddles and he said, “I not a baby!”. Oh, the heartbreak. Ten minutes later he was leaping into my lap, insisting on tickles. Then running over to tell his dad, “Mommy cuddle me. I not want cuddles.” And then right back to my lap for ‘tickles’, not cuddles.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember him as a baby… It wasn’t that long ago, but at times I just can’t see it. He was a big chubby cheeked baby with long blond hair. At least that’s my favorite way to remember. Now he’s a slender boy with short dark blond hair that he insists on growing out again so he can feel it ‘swish’. He still gives out the same grumpy expressions, and the same delightful squeals of laughter. He no longer eats everything in site…but will tear apart a box of his favorite snack in minutes. He still loves his ‘moo’.
The part about growing up that I miss the most is that I will never again in his life have days of just he and I. Yes, we’ll likely go on little trips or outings just the two of us. But the days of he and I playing together, learning together alone ended almost two years ago when his brother was born. Last night as I processed how big he had become I realized he’d start pre-k next year. And that never again would my ‘baby’ be solely my baby. His brother will get the year of pre-k to have one on one time with me – for the first time in his life. I have no doubts he will miss his brother terribly for those school hours as they have never been apart. Will he enjoy his one on one time, or will his independent, ever-moving soul be easily bored?
My children’s personalities are often night and day. I can see me in my oldest and I can see my never sit still sister in my youngest. Watching them interact reminds me of my childhood. Fights over toys, periods of time where we played together in peace. A love of being free outdoors. Little reminders of the child still inside me.
I’m happy to watch my children grow and thrive. Slightly mournful at the loss of ‘babies’ yet proud of who they are becoming. And no matter their insistence that they’re too big for cuddles, I am grateful that they still climb up in my lap and snuggle into the crook of my arm. They’ll always be babies to me…