The Bittersweetness of Our Littles Growing Up

The Bittersweetness of Our Littles Growing Up | Houston Moms Blog

A few months ago, I was saying goodnight to my five-year-old son, and I started caressing his face as I sometimes do. He closed his eyes and kept a blissful smile on his face, and all of the sudden I was transported back to when he was only a few weeks old. I subconsciously started caressing his face from the day he was born. One evening, when we were eating dinner at my parent’s house, my mom noticed his reaction to my touch. He was sitting in a bouncy seat in between us, and the moment I caressed his face, he reacted as if he had just undergone a one-hour baby massage. My mom said, “He really loves you.” It’s amazing how a memory so small gets stored away in the back of your mind, and how it immediately springs to the forefront after a similar action provokes the same reaction. That night I was in his room, I saw my baby again inside an ever-growing five-year-old body.

It happened again the other night when we were eating dinner. His cheeks aren’t chubby anymore and his curly hair has gotten courser and thicker, but I happened to be staring at him while he was talking, and for a moment, I saw my baby again. I must have teared up a little because he asked me, “Mommy, why are you looking at me like that?” I told him the truth. That I could still see my baby Mayer sometimes and that I had just caught a glimpse of him. It’s very fleeting, but it happens more often than I expect if I’m paying attention. Sometimes I wonder if I will still see the baby in him even when he’s a grown man.

The Bittersweetness of Our Littles Growing Up | Houston Moms Blog

As for my three-year-old daughter, well, she is still a baby to me. But not for long. Her limbs are lengthening, and she is shedding her baby fat. She gets more beautiful by the day, and we are quickly graduating from all the toddler stages. She still lets me pick her up and just hold her. When I do, I close my eyes, squeeze her gently, and soak it all up, because I never know when she won’t want me to hold her anymore.

The Bittersweetness of Our Littles Growing Up | Houston Moms Blog

We recently transitioned her from a crib to a toddler bed, and once I realized she would keep the covers on {more or less} I decided to buy her some night gowns. I remember feeling extra special wearing them as a little girl, and I wanted her to feel that way too. One weekend morning, when we had nowhere to be, I got her out of bed and told her she could wear her nightgown for a while. We were walking down the stairs {she still lets me hold her hand for safety}, and as I was watching her – this perfect little girl in a nightgown with beautiful brown tendrils resting on her shoulders {a little girl I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember} – my heart physically ached. I was taken aback by her beauty, her smallness, her innocence, and my adoration for her.

There is something so incredibly innocent and sweet about her right now, and I find myself asking her not to grow anymore, because I love who she is exactly in this moment in time. Of course, I don’t mean it. Well, sort of. I want her to keep growing and I know I will enjoy every new stage with her, as I have with her brother, but it also just feels cruel how short-lived their “littleness” is.

I can’t tell you how many times older adults have told me that phrase. You know the one :: “Enjoy them now, because they grow so fast.” You want to roll your eyes, because A) you’ve heard it so many times, and B) you believe it, but you really don’t want to accept it. Unfortunately, it’s true. They do grow so incredibly fast. There are definitely days when time feels like it is at a crawl, but then your son turns five, and you just can’t quite grasp how that happened so quickly.

Of course there are so many benefits to your kids growing up. They become more independent, and you don’t have to watch them like a hawk in hopes of preventing constant injuries. You get to proudly watch them become who they were always meant to be, and give them the means to get there. I know it will all be so rewarding and special. But when my son stopped calling breakfast “brech-wech” every morning, and my daughter stopped saying “Mommy, I’ll pick you up later,” whenever we parted ways for a few hours…well, I miss those days too.

This past October, I went to visit my cousin in Chicago, who just had her first baby. We were sitting on the couch as her baby nursed, and my cousin looked up at me and said, “I already miss this.” She was all too aware of how fast it will go, and she felt nostalgic for something she was experiencing in the present. And all I could say back to her was, “I know.”

We all know. Life is short. We have to relish our blessings and gifts each day. Some days are harder to do that, and we all get caught up in our own frustrations. But every time a friend or family member brings a new baby into the world, I am careful with my words. I don’t tell them what all the other people say. I don’t remind them how quickly it all passes. What I tell them is to relish it all. That is my best advice. Our littles will grow up, and there will be pangs of sadness that cling to each successive and happy milestone. But if we can strive to soak up the moment and appreciate everything that our children encompass at any given point in time, and really pay attention, we will not only realize the amazing little people they have morphed into, but just maybe, we will also continue to get very short but sweet glimpses of our babies too.

The Bittersweetness of Our Littles Growing Up | Houston Moms Blog

 
 

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