Today as I walked up the hill with Big Dude (my 6 yr old) to school the closer we got the more something happened. Every step closer I could feel the warmth of his tiny little fingertips recede from mine, until before I knew it, I was just holding air. I causally glanced back to see him walking with his head held high, longingly glancing at all the older kids, and it struck me that my baby is growing up. My youngest is coming to an age where he doesn’t want to be seen as a baby anymore and I can tell that it is as painful for him as it is for me.
I know this because every other second he would again grasp my hand, holding my fingers tight, almost as if in a war with himself. Neither of us wanted to let go and yet… yet we did. My babyboy is in his last 3 weeks of kindergarten. I know these next 12 years will go by in a blink, and it breaks my heart. My daughter is about to be on her last 3 years of school. My middle son will be in 7th grade come fall. I turned 38 this month and I already have a child who is only 3 years away from being an adult, one who is almost a teenager and one who can now read, write, add, and not hold his mama’s hand without being self conscious.
I would ask where does the time go, however, I already know the answer. Time goes by in the fleeting moments. The happiness and heartbreak that happens simultaneously moments. The unforgettably forgettable moments. The moments where you watch your child grow in the blink of an eye, where they age from one second to the next as they discover something new, or achieve a new understanding about the way life works, or they stop holding your hand…
Being a parent means having your heart broken a million times to see your child grow up. It means having it fill to bursting with pride as you watch them pull away and find confidence to walk their paths alone. I know at the end of the day, he will hold my hand again and I can pretend for a few moments more that he is still my dear little baby boy. But, I am not a selfish woman, or so I like to tell myself, ha. No, while the space in my hands may soon be empty, my heart will fill as I watch him grow and catch up to his siblings. Fill and be proud, but oh it will ache too. The unconditional love that comes from a child pre-hormone, before that adolescent angsty love that is a double edged sword until they have found themselves and can love you unconditionally again kinda love, that love is a present, one they give you to get through those tough teenage years. One I hold on to tight.