It’s been a hard week. Not for my kids but for me. My oldest turned six and my heart broke just a little bit as it let go of the baby and embraced the big kid. Before this birthday, I never felt sad about watching my boys grow older. There was no pang of sadness when I packed away their tiny clothes, I cheered every milestone, and loved each stage of growing independence. They need so much in those early years that I felt ready, oh so ready, for them to grow just a little bit bigger.
Big enough that I didn’t have to carry them on those hot, sticky summer days; that we could go a little faster than slower than a snail’s pace; that I could eat my dinner before it was cold; and that my body was finally mine again.
I want them to get big but I need them to stay small. Small enough to crawl on my lap when the world is mean to them. Small enough to tell me all their secrets without holding any bits back. Small enough to reach for my hand and hold on tight wherever we go.
I have to snag him fast at morning drop-off for that hug and kiss because if I forget, he’s already off with his friends. I’m the one crawling into bed with him for a nighttime cuddle until he sends me away so that he can sleep. And I relish the odd time he slides his hand in mine because I know it won’t last long.
Enjoy every moment. That’s a piece of advice that I’ve always hated and I hate it now. When you are in the midst of diapers, crying, sleepless nights, and aching arms, it’s impossible to enjoy every moment.
Instead I’ll say find a way to remember the moments. Here are five ways that made the last week a little easier on me.
- A calendar of little moments. I never got into the spirit of baby books. Too much commitment– I do use our family calendar to jot down little reminders of the things my boys have done. It takes me a few seconds, and it becomes a piece of our living history.
- Start a journal to chronicle the funny things your kids say. We have about twenty entries and my husband and I love to flip through and remember the crazy things that have left their mouths.
- Invest in quality photographs. When my oldest was younger, we took him for mini-photo sessions at least three times a year. We’ve stopped going as regularly but I’m going to get back into the habit.
- Take videos. Pictures are awesome but I love watching them in action, pictures don’t capture the way they sound and the way their bodies move. Plus videos offer better material for future blackmail.
- Don’t enjoy every moment but mindfully pause to enjoy the real moments of your life. Pause to really feel the tightness of their arms around your neck when they squeeze tight for a hug. Pause to listen to their nighttime negotiations and listen to their pleading voice. Pause – just for a second or two.
As always – I’d love to hear from other parents about what birthday, if any, was particularly tough on you as a parent?
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