I've been a mom for almost 14 years. We're making plans with my oldest about his high school, and that's unbelievable to me, but I can console myself that I still have a little at home to snuggle with and do the small child things. When I think about it in those terms, it's no wonder I get a little weepy when my "baby" outgrows his young-child activities and embarks on his own journey toward adulthood.
He's almost given up on baths, my 7 year old. He doesn't play anymore, and it's not a big joy to have bath time- he'd rather have a shower. And I do celebrate that, because it's not my favourite activity to lean over the tub and wash/rinse his hair while he howls about soap in his eyes. But last night he had a bath, and said the magic words I've been looking forward to ever since his older brother started having baths on his own, "Mom, you can get rid of the bath toys now. I don't need them anymore".
At first I was excited. I can't wait to get rid of the clutter than consumes my life. But then I started contemplating what that actually means. Sure, we don't step on lego or dinosaurs anymore like we used to, but that means that he doesn't play like he used to, either. His imagination is taken up with more the mature themes and ideas he's picked up from his brother. Books like "The Cat in the Hat" are replaced with Beast Quest and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. And he's into clothes and hair and developing his signature "style". He's hilarious, and empathetic, and the sweetest, most tender little person. But he's not really so young, anymore.
Life is change. I know we celebrate that, marking time on our calendars and celebrating the usual annual celebrations. Without change, there would be no life. But for all these years of parenthood I didn't stop to think about what it would mean when we reached each milestone. I'm proud of our boys; they are kind, thoughtful, and respectful kids. They are learning independence, which is necessary. I've been deliberately fostering it, in fact. But I can still mourn a little when they need me a little less.
Let's file this under personal growth today, shall we? Enjoy your day, and come check in on Facebook on Friday for the recipe for Honey Garlic Almonds.