Okay, I’m gonna lay it right out, put my cards on the table right now and tell you, I’m not ready. I mean, I knew it was coming…I could feel it. It began with the bedtime routine, of not needing me to tuck you in; brushing your teeth on your own and goodnight kisses and hugs replaced with a wave from the kitchen, as you headed up to bed.
I started to feel it, the first time I realized you didn’t want to hang out after dinner and watch Spongebob or iCarly. Instead, you had gaming and Facetime chats. You used to tell me I was the “best mama ever…in the whole world ever!” and hug me so hard, you’d take my breath away. Now there are high fives, half-hearted hugs, and fist bumps.
Walking to to the bus stop has become a thing of the past. No more holding hands and swinging our arms. No more last-minute squeezes as the bus approaches. You’re too big for that now. Now you walk to and from on your own, as I stand at the door and blow you a kiss.
I sometimes find myself listening to the songs I used to sing to you as a baby. Standing in the living room and rocking back & forth as I sang you to sleep. Your head slowly falling to my shoulder. I want so desperately to keep you that small.
But time passes, and things change. They say you never know when it’s coming…the “last time” – the last time I carried you on my hip, until you wanted to walk on your own. The last time those little fingers were wrapped around mine, or the last time you ran into my arms after school.
I simply didn’t know that goodnight kiss on your forehead, as you drifted off to sleep would be the last one. The last bedtime story. I will never again read, “I’ll Love You Forever” or any of the Dr. Seuss books. You have outgrown them.
And while it makes me sad, and makes me look back at how fast it all goes by, I am able to stop and look at you now. In this moment. Right now.
You are growing into young adults. You are becoming responsible, learning how to do things independently, balancing schoolwork, friendships, and other activities.
You are a long conversation after school, you are a word of thanks for preparing dinner. You are carrying the laundry up the stairs to save me a trip. You are bringing in the barrels and getting the mail without being asked, knowing it helps dad.
There are aspects of the person you’re becoming that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I am proud of who you’re becoming. I am grateful.
And while I know there will come a day when you’ll go off to college, get married or move away, for now I’m gonna try and savor every second of my time with you.
So if I start to reminisce about my babies, or perhaps follow you up to bed and try to kiss your forehead, or tuck you in…just go with it.
Because you never know when it will be the last time.
I love you to the moon and back and back again.