I recently read an article about how the assholes are right. You know those older women at the park that look wistfully at you with your young children and tell you to soak it all in. Because you’ll blink and they’ll be older.
And you chuckle because it’s crazy hard and your kid is smearing mud on your cheek.
But it’s true. You blink and they grow. The assholes just might be right.
Liam just graduated from the second grade.
And it breaks my heart. Every start of the year and every ending. My boy is growing. He’s getting so big. We have more adult-like conversations everyday, and while his fascination with imaginary play (particularly Indiana Jones right now) goes on, I know that these moments where he is a child and more like a person are growing fewer and far between.
I love that he still wants me to lay with him at night. We cuddle in and watch movies. We have deep talks and he has the most amazing insight to this world.
But I wonder, maybe the older women at the park are missing something.
I wonder if, in this life of grand and small moments, if we can only take in so much. We’re only human. We aren’t capable of soaking it all in (and quite frankly, that’s a lot of pressure).
Memories are like the dozens of construction paper drawings done during the day. Some thin lines and some elaborate works of art. But we don’t, we can’t, keep all of these. We pick and choose. We keep what we can.
(Don’t get me wrong. I try. I try so hard to live every moment. Take advantage of life. Make every day great. But it slips from our hands like sand.)
If we always set down our books, our phones, our lives for our children, they never see us as the humans that we also are. They learn to depend on that constant attention, that constant adoring eye. I don’t think that can be good for independent play, imagination, developing that confidence and trust in themselves and actions. As they grow older, perhaps they need not just a parent, but also a guide. Like a spotter on a gymnastics bar, saying I’m here for you, go on and try it, and if you need me, I’m right here. Always.
As much as it breaks my heart, and I take in these big and small moments of how he still holds my thumb at bedtime, like he did when he was a baby, I know that I am here to love (love love love love love), do my very best by him, and help him be the person that he should be in this world. Who he already is – strong, resilient, determined as all hell, loyal, kind… I know that as it breaks my heart to let him be sometimes, to watch that space that he needs grow bigger and bigger, and away from me, it’s good for him.
And he’ll know that I’m always here, always loving, arms extended in case he needs it.