I’m back! Summer is over and after taking a break from writing I’m raring to go with thoughts, feelings, and ideas to process. So buckle up dear readers, and thanks so much for coming with me on this journey. I couldn’t do it alone.
I decided to take a break from writing over the summer because this blog was always meant to be something I WANT to do and it was starting to feel like something I HAD to do, so a break was just the thing to snap me out of that mindset. I spent the summer having some amazing (and some not so amazing) times with the people I love. And as far as my parenting journey goes, I came away with one persistent thought about my son “COULD YOU PLEASE STOP GROWING UP ALREADY!!!” But, it wouldn’t be the mindf*ck that is being a parent if I didn’t also have opposing thoughts like “It’s so cool to watch him grow and change!” And “Could he please just get out of this whiny stage already?”
But at this point, the first thought I mentioned is the strongest. It has me desperate to cling to every little thing about my 3 year-old. The way his voice sounds enthusiastically singing along to Taylor Swift on the radio. The way he tells me random and nonsensical gossip from preschool (yes, he’s already in preschool!) like “Today, Olivia was at the sculpture table and she said ‘This smells like meat’ but it wasn’t meat, it was play dough!” And then he doubles over with giggles and I can’t help but laugh along. The way he claps his hands in excitement when given good news. There are so many tiny parts of his lovely little self that I long to remember forever, yet I know that time will slowly fade them away and replace them with a new and different person. Hopefully one just as wonderful as he is now.
I bristle sometimes when I hear an older parent say that I should “cherish every moment” of my child’s early years. I know other parents feel this way too, as I’ve seen many other blog posts and memes mocking this sentiment. Of course we can’t cherish EVERY moment of parenting a young child. My husband and I found ourselves groggy and grumpy on a recent morning, when we had been up all night with a sick child, saying to one another with all honesty “This is the part that sucks.” This is the part that no one would do, if it weren’t for all the good parts.
But as with most cliches, there’s certainly some truth to the whole annoying “cherish every moment” thing. Because what those parents of older or adult children know, and what I’m only beginning to learn, is how quickly this time slips away. How short of a span (in the grand scheme of life) our children are really “ours. But rather than focus on the loss of my son’s babyhood, toddlerhood, and his rapidly advancing childhood, instead I want to do my best to train my mind and heart to hold on to these moments. To cherish not all of them, but as many as I can.
Right now, for instance, I’m lying uncomfortably in bed, typing this post with one hand as my child naps directly on top of my other arm, which is both numb and slick with sweat. And I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I’ve posted before about napping with my son, and I continue to feel absolutely no guilt for taking a nap with my kid any time I want. It’s practically the only time I get prolonged physical contact with him anymore. I struggle to pick him up and carry him (and he really doesn’t want me to). He’ll sometimes initiate a hug or snuggle, but it lasts only a second or so until he’s on to the next thing.
So for now, I revel in my love for his sweaty hair, his gentle snore, his breath that smells slightly of peanut butter (because he currently eats almost exclusively peanut butter sandwiches for lunch). I don’t know how long he’ll want to keep napping with me (or napping in general). He might want to give it up next week, next month, or next year. But for now, I’m all in.
I love you all.