When did my babies grow up? I know I was there for it, but somehow it seems like it just happened right under my nose and I was out to lunch, or something. How can it be? The days felt like they crawled -- with the two hour feedings, the nights of croup, watching them every second for fear they fell from whatever they were attempting to climb, and the dreaded potty training... How do my smalls now look like real children and not stretched toddlers? Where have I been???
It's not that I really want to go back and have a do-over. I'm quite fine skipping some of the Abu Ghraib phases. It's just that as much as I tried to be present, and even when I was, it still doesn't lessen the sense of the speeding freeway of time, upon which we all are traveling. Whether we stop, rest stops, pit stops, it feels like we're all getting to where we're going faster than we thought. This is the little secret other adults older than you have been trying to share with you for years. The proverbial, "Don't rush, sweetheart, it goes so fast, you'll see." Which, if you're anything like me, you met with rolling eyes.
I couldn't have believed it, because I couldn't have known. The journey is so all absorbing, you don't realize how fast it's going, and then when you do, it's too late.
I am so liking who my smalls are becoming. I'm so excited for all that lies in front of them that I'd be lying if I said I wanted them to stay babies forever. But there is a melancholia, a wistfulness that is both strangely comforting and yet, uneasy.
Perhaps the comfort comes in knowing that you've been told all your life that this is how it is, so it isn't a surprise and is, apparently, exactly what one is supposed to be feeling. But, sadness comes with the feeling which makes one a tad uneasy, because you now realize that you've become one of the old people who understands that it's true.
I watched my children this weekend. Their legs are getting longer, they can reach things they never could reach before, and things that used to result in sulking or a tantrum are now taken in resigned stride.
Time has moved on, and so have we. Are babies are children, soon to be teenagers, and we are becoming well ensconced in middle-age. But no matter how big and old they get, they will always be my babies to me...