If I get through writing this post without tears streaming down my face, I’ll have impressed myself. See, this is a subject that gets me Every. Single. Time.
My baby isn’t a baby anymore.
Sure, he’s still little, and of course he still needs me, and of course he’ll ALWAYS be my “baby”. But he’s four now and he is starting to do math problems and he tells jokes and he loves learning about outer space and he has a best friend at school and sometimes when he falls down he doesn’t need me to kiss his knee anymore.
My baby isn’t a baby. He is growing up so fast it makes my head spin and my heart ache.
I know we are incredibly lucky that he is healthy and growing and I don’t take it for granted, really I don’t. I know there are a million wonderful times ahead of us, and that I don’t need to feel scared that he is going to grow up and won’t need me anymore. But what I never realized before becoming a parent is that watching your kids pass each milestone is actually a little bittersweet. Yes, he can dress himself and put his own shoes on and pick an apple out of the fridge all by himself. Of course I’m happy he can go potty by himself. I love that he can help clean up his room when I ask and that he sometimes even does it when I don’t ask. I love that he sleeps through the night and that he can read a book or play in his room by himself if he wakes up early. But the flip side is he doesn’t need me to rock him to sleep anymore or help him snuggle into his fleece pajamas or even sing him bedtime songs. There are losses with every step forward, things that you don’t know you’ll miss until you do.
There are a million things to love about your child “growing up”, but it’s hard not to mourn the time when he was a squishy little ball of baby, who would takes naps on my chest while I read a book or nurse at 2 in the morning while I marveled at his little fingers.
Mamas of babies…I know it’s not all sweet and rosy for you. At least, I know it was incredibly hard for me at times. But I am jealous of your little bundles, of tiny little fingers and fragile little bodies. I am jealous of the middle of the night silence as you feed your little one. I am jealous of the teeny little diapers and the intoxicating smell of baby skin. I am jealous of all the milestones ahead of you – first smiles and first giggles and first steps.
My baby, my sweet, hilarious, wild little preschooler, isn’t a baby anymore. And he’s not a toddler anymore. And in the not-so-distant-future, he won’t be a preschooler anymore, either. Every day he changes a tiny little bit, sheds a bit more of his baby skin and takes one step closer to the next milestone, the next birthday, the next NEXT.
I know I don’t always appreciate every second (I mean, c’mon. There are always going to be BAD moments at every age) but the thing about time is that you don’t realize something might not happen again until it doesn’t. You might not realize it’s last time you nurse or the last time he wants you to sing a certain song before bed or the last time you read a favorite book or the last time he wants to be pushed on the swing. But you’ll see it in hindsight and you won’t believe how many “lasts” are behind you.
So I’m jealous of the mamas of newborns and I’m pretty sure someday I will be jealous of mamas with preschoolers. Because someday, my preschooler won’t be a preschooler anymore either.