I have been experiencing growing pains as of late, the pains of watching my boys grow into men.
Yesterday was another day of many “OMG when did they grow up on me?!?” moments. The first one occurred when Kid2 and I were walking to the store. He was busy talking about something and I was busy taking many mental snapshots of his facial expressions, body movements, freckles, counting the ringlets in his hair when I realized just how tall he has gotten in the last few months. It was at that moment that I realized, “Wow. In just over 1 year I will never have to worry about getting a babysitter again should I need one if I decide to go out for an evening. I will never have to check with Kid1 what his plans are again should I want to spend a few hours away.” I shared this revelation with Kid2 and he was excited. He has been counting down the days to when he can do more adult things. I however, have not.
The other week, Kid1 realized that he is almost 15. He said to me, “Where did the time go? I can’t believe I am almost 15 and Kid2 is almost 11! It seems just like yesterday you brought Kid2 home from the hospital and a few days later I was asking you to put him back in your tummy.” I laughed while part of me quietly wept as I replied, “Don’t even talk to me about where did the time go. I’m the one that has to watch you grow up, let go and allow you to make your own adult decisions. You have no idea how awesome it is to watch you and your brother grow up yet how sad it is at the same time. If only you could stay small forever.” My children find this strange. They think I should be looking forward to freedom. However, I enjoy being a mom. It is one thing I can say I am truly good at. It is the one thing growing up when I would think about possible careers, being a mom was always the first on my list. I commented one night to Kid1 how I do not find being a parent a burden or a bother. His reply was, “I think you are the only parent who thinks that.” This made me think “then maybe those other people should never have been parents in the first place.”
After coming to the realization that it is only 1 more year before not having to worry about childcare (1 year may seem like a long time but when I think where did the past 15 years go, it will be here in the blink of an eye), I spent most of the night observing Kid2 and soaking in everything he was doing. When he had decided it was time for bed, he proceeded to crawl into my bed as he is not feeling well. I asked him, “What are you doing?” He said, “Going to sleep.” I replied, “But you are in my bed.” He countered with, “Your bed is better right now.” Puzzled, I asked, “How is it better?” He answered, “It just is. Goodnight mom. By the way, can you play a few of my favourite songs for me while I fall asleep?” So I asked him what songs he wanted me to play. I put them on and watched as he drifted off to sleep.
I found myself watching him for a very long time and thinking “you haven’t watched him sleep since he was a baby. Why is that?” So I grabbed my camera and took a picture of him sleeping. Something else I haven’t done in years. And that is when more realizations come flooding into my brain.
As I sat and watched him sleep for about 30 minutes, I realized that soon the days will be over where he climbs on top of me while we are cuddling on the couch. It is an odd thing to see as he is now almost as tall as I am. But soon, he will no longer want the comfort of laying down on top of me while we cuddle. Soon he will no longer need me for physical comfort. Kid1 stopped cuddling on the couch with me when he was about 12. He will still hug me in public and tell me he loves me in public, but that is about it.
Soon the nights of him crawling into bed with me when he has had a nightmare will be gone. There are some nights where he is standing at my bedroom door in tears because of a dream he had and frustrated I tell him, “It’s okay love. Climb into bed with me.” But I know that when those nights are no longer here, I am going to miss them. I am going to miss being able to fix the things only a mommy can fix. So from now on, hopefully I do not reply to him with frustration in my half-awake state when he is needing the comfort only I can bring.
Soon the nights of my bed being the better bed when he is sick will be over. Sure I wake up the next morning feeling as if a MAC truck repeatedly ran me over because he is wild in his sleep and I spend most of the night dodging flying limbs however I feel a certain helplessness when my boys are sick. I wish I had a magic wand that can cure them and make them feel better. But even if I do not have a magic wand, at least I can make them feel more comfortable, safe and secure in my magic bed.
Soon I have to let them go and hope that from time to time they miss the comfort only I can bring and come to me seeking it.
One day they are boys and then they are men.