Monday, December 8, 2008

Don't Blink

I blinked. I blinked, and suddenly my newborn was five! I have no idea where the time went, and I have to struggle to remember all the details that I must have missed somewhere!
I remember the tiny face with the big, brown eyes looking at me while he was nursing. We had the best talks then; when his tummy was full he would look up and coo his secrets to me, and I would tell him mine.
Suddenly, he was crawling, there was a whirlwind of baby-proofing everything below knee-level. Weaning to a cup, zwieback toast crumbs in the carpets (and everywhere else), and nothing can be compared to the first "spaghetti experience!"
And then... Suddenly he's walking; he's saying actual words... Wait! What was that word, oh my goodness! Did he just tell me "No!"
Honestly, each stage has been like a camera; each click of the high-speed shutter another milestone.
When my tiny Grover was just a wee little bug of a baby, I used to get so annoyed with all of the well-meaning comments about how I should, "be sure to enjoy and cherish every moment; they grow so fast!" I can tell you that I have said that very same phrase at least three times in the last week.
Where once a cooing, wiggly baby lay on a blanket on the floor, a little person was toddling around the house with the contents of my purse strewn in a trail behind him. A little person with a personality, a strong will, and a temper! He learned what he liked, and didn't like at the table, and is no longer content to just ride along in the stroller while we peruse the shopping mall.
My baby changed to my toddler, to my preschooler, and is now on the cusp of just being my boy. Do all mothers grieve and rejoice at the passage of one stage and the beginning of another?
As I look at these last shutter-clicks that I have alone with Grove before he starts Kindergarten next Fall, I am faced with a whole new set of fears: Will his teacher love him like I do (of course not). Will his classmates like him? Will he make friends? Will he keep up with the work? And most unrealistically; will he like his teacher more than me?
Will he miss me?
Why is it so easy to get so wrapped up in who you are as a mom, instead of who you are? I used to have big ideas about many aspects of my life, and now everything seems to center around parenthood.
I think I see what the "Empty Nest" syndrome is about; the question is, will I be able to change before it happens to me?
I better get a hobby, a life, even!
The best thing you can teach your children is to be independent. Can you really teach independence if you are dependent on them to fulfill who you are as a person: Probably not.
One sure thing is that Grover will continue to grow.
He will continue to change and become a young boy, then a young man, and I will have to continue to make steps to let him.
To let him go.
I suppose the best way is to let go in the little ways every day, giving him the small independence's now will prepare us both for the bigger ones down the road; the road, I am learning, is not nearly as long as I first thought it was!