Goodbye, Babyhood

I’m not entirely sure where this entry will take me, but sometimes, I simply need a therapeutic entry….

My oldest child will be in Kindergarten this academic year. See, I’m not sure you fully understand the magnitude of those words. MY child will be in KINDERGARTEN, and it will happen in a matter of DAYS. THIS baby, see?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat’s MY BABY who will be in Kindergarten.

My youngest kiddo turned two last week. TWO YEARS OLD. As in, the end of babyhood, the start of the preschool era, and time to talk about pottytraining and nursery school. She is no longer a BABY. This beautiful child is no longer a baby.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHave I mentioned my heart really, really hurts?

When I think about it, it’s not my own mortality that bothers me, but it’s the thought that my children are growing older, and that these precious days with these little beings are so fleeting, that just leave me feeling teary eyed and helpless sometimes. We can’t get the past back. We can’t take another little stroll through those early weeks of swaddling and that sweet baby smell of powder and tear free shampoo. We can’t ask for an encore of those first steps, first foods, first words. Unless we have managed to capture them on video, it’s over and done.

Yup, it’s enough to make that aforementioned heart of mine ACHE inside.

I’ve contemplated the whole “third baby” thing, but the thing is–I don’t want another baby right now, and maybe I never will. I just want to hold my little ones forever. I find myself wanting to homeschool my son at times just so I can hold onto his childhood and savor those hours in the day for myself, ourselves.  They don’t belong to his teacher (yet unnamed–le sigh); they belong to me, darn it! That’s my child.

And yet, I’ll let him go. Because it’s not about what I want. It’s about him–it’s about the fact that he thrives in a public school environment, surrounded by friends.

I don’t want my toddler making her own bowl of cereal (yes, she did this the other day), or throwing away her trash, or showing signs of independence, but I’ll let her because I can’t keep her “my little baby” forever. I’ll let her because it is best for her, and also because there are some days (okay, a lot) where I admit to being pleased that she’s doing things for herself (shhhhhh, don’t tell anyone).

At the end of the day, things truly are about the little ones, and not me. It’s not about my aching heart at all. It’s about the things they need to do and learn in order to grow up to be loving, capable, contributing members of society someday.

At the end of the day, I can either fret about losing my babies and waste time in sadness, or I can enjoy what I have now.

Like a son who loves taking pics of railroads and trains as much as I do.

DSC_0061

 

Or my daughter who is the perfect combination of girliness and glitter mixed with fearlessness and attitude.

DSC_0186

So, I’ll silently shed a few tears and reflect as I am doing tonight, but no matter where they are, they will always be my babies. And I’ll cherish each step along the way. I’ll use those tears to motivate me to be kinder, more patient, more understanding, forgiving, and compassionate, lest I dampen their spirits, and lest I lose that quiet inner voice that reminds me to let them be children.

That they’ll always be my babies.

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