Everyday when I pick the boys up from the babysitter’s house after work, we talk on the way home. It’s our time. We catch up, they tell me about their day, we laugh, make silly jokes, talk about the plan for the rest of the evening, and just enjoying reuniting after a long day apart.
Lately, the boys memory seems to be sharpening and they like to say, “Hey mom, remember when _____!??” and they fill in that blank with something we did recently. It often amazes me the things they remember, and it always makes me smile remembering with them.
The other day, in the middle of hysterics over the newest favorite phrase, “MONKEY FARTS AND CHICKEN POOP!?!?!?!? THAT’S SILLY!!!!” on repeat, Connor said, “Hey Mom! Remember when I’m gonna get big and so I can drive a car?”
I said, “What?” And he repeated, “Remember when I’m gonna get big?”
I went along with it and said, “Yeah buddy, you are going to get big!” He sat back in his seat with a satisfied look on his face and that was that. But it left me with the unavoidable realization that my boys are growing up.
“When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.” Patrick Rothfuss
This growing up phenomenon is a bitter sweet kind of thing. After all, as a parent, is it not my job to help my sons grow up? That’s really the crux of my purpose. To raise them well and help them grow up into wonderful men. But as a mommy, there’s a twinge of sadness that comes with that. It means that my ultimate goal is to raise my children to some day be grown and no longer dependent on me for anything but love. To prepare my heart to not only live and breathe outside of my body, but also to teach it to go to school, to drive, to get married, and to eventually find it’s home in someone else’s chest.
I try not to think too far into the future about such things because afterall, my boys are still only 2 1/2 and 14 months. We have some time. But they are already thinking about getting bigger.
It’s an innate sense inside of children that their goal is ultimately to grow up. They often say things like, “I can’t wait til I get bigger. “When I get bigger I’m gonna ____.” We all said it when we were kids. And our parents always said, “Just enjoy being a kid.” When we grow up, we understand why they said that. Being an adult isn’t as fun as our parents made it look back then! Now don’t get me wrong, it has its perks. But if you ask me, the main perk of being an adult is the ability to have children.
Not only do I want them to enjoy being young. I want to enjoy them being young as well. It all goes so fast. It seems like just the day before yesterday I was in the hospital preparing to give birth; and now, I look in the rear view mirror and see real boys.
Apparently this has been happening for a while without my knowledge. They’re growing up. While I’m remembering when they were little, Connor is already asking me to remember when he got big.
I’m realizing our children outgrow us much faster than we will ever outgrow them. Truth is, I will never outgrow my babies. To me, they’ll always be my babies. When I “remember when Connor is gonna get big and drive a car,” it will be my baby behind that wheel. When I send them out into the world and they first go to school without me, it will be my 8 pound cherubs walking into that big building. When he meets the love of his life and she places her hand inside his, it will be my little boy who’s tiny fingers used to be wrapped around mine.
Much before I’m ready, I will stand there next to my son who will likely stand many inches above me, I will look up into his beautiful eyes and I will say, “Son, remember when you got bigger?” I’ll send him out into the world because I will have done my job well. My hand will be replaced by another and though I will hold the memories of his past, she will hold the memories of his future. I will be there too, but in a much different role.
And that’s good. It’s the way it’s suppose to be.
But for now, I am thankful that I don’t have to release them just yet. For now, my babies are still my babies, even though they are getting bigger before my very eyes.
Right now, I’m holding onto the fact that I’m still the one in the driver’s seat. It’s still my cheeks they kiss goodnight. It’s still my hand they want to hold. It’s still my arms they run into. They’re still my little boys. I’m remembering every little detail and tucking them into my heart.
Because all too soon, I’m going to remember when they got big.