My oldest son turned ten today. It’s the day I’ve been dreading because it’s the day he hits double digits, signifying that he’s no longer a boy, but not quite a young man.
He’s so far from being a baby and so much closer to being an adulthood. Everyone told me to enjoy my boys while they were little because it would all go so quickly and indeed, it has. In the blink of an eye I have a ten year old! TEN! I’ve been his mom for an entire decade, which is completely unbelievable, and the sad thing is, my youngest isn’t too far behind him. They are each one year older this year which means they are another year closer to the day I have to let them go. Even though I know they will always be my babies, l dread the day they will walk away as adults. They are already changing so quickly right before my very eyes, both nearly as tall as I am and their feet almost as big as mine. My oldest has always had the cutest, sweetest, most adorable high-pitched voice. The day puberty sneaks in and steals it replacing it with an awkward, lower pitched one, I’ll probably cry my eyes out.
My children bring out the most sensitive part of me to the point that, I’ll admit it, I cry every night on the eve of their birthday. I realize that declaring this out loud may make you see me as a bit crazy, or strange, or neurotic, but I can’t help myself. Everything that has happened through out the course of my life makes me appreciate every moment I get to have with them. I know how short life is and I’m reminded of it every time I look in the mirror and am reminded that I am no longer twenty-something anymore.
Life flies by without warning at lightning speed. These moments of whimsy and unfettered happiness, every giggle and kiss they offer up reminding me that this won’t last forever. It literally breaks my heart because if I could freeze these moments, I would truly live in them forever, and I would viciously protect them from what lies ahead as they barrel head-on toward adulthood.
I love that I get to take care of and watch over them. I love that the most difficult decisions they have to face are what to wear and which Legos to play with. I adore their innocence and irreverent sense of humor. And I am thankful that life hasn’t mucked them up, or disillusioned them, and that they still believe that I am cool, smart and beautiful. I am happy that they find joy in the simplest things and that the world hasn’t taught them yet, how to be afraid, or ashamed, or that they should change who they are or what they believe. They are still true to themselves in a way that most of us can’t believe we were ever able to be.
At their ages, my boys aren’t jaded, hurt, angry, or bitter, their only emotions coming directly from their beautiful little hearts which are guided by truth and perfection. As I watch them grow, I know these days will continue to pass quickly, and as I hold onto them as tightly as I can, it feels futile, like sand sifting through my fingers.
It’s not that I don’t want them to grow up. I knew that having children would result in raising them into adulthood then letting them go on their own. I knew that they would get older and hopefully become functioning, responsible members of society.
I know that raising them to be capable, strong, compassionate young men is a privilege and an honor. But that doesn’t mean I won’t miss their impish little smiles and their sweet unaffected spirits. It doesn’t mean I won’t miss their impulsive hugs and bashful kisses and how they still want to be little boys as they strain unexpectedly toward young adulthood.
Having a healthy perspective about it all often evades me but I do realize that my oldest is only ten, and there are still several years of childhood yet to come. While I mourn for a childhood that still remains, I realize that my fear for them is still unfounded and that I need to indulge in the joy of cuddling with them today. So I try to live in the moment, never wanting it to end and realizing how lucky I am to get to have these moments at all. And I remind myself to cherish every hug, giggle, and butterfly kiss that they bestow upon me. I can’t promise that I won’t cry on their birthday eves. I’ll probably always cry because I’m a sap like that, and that will probably never change.
But I do know to be hopeful and happy for the promise of the wonderful young men I know they will someday be. Always hearing their sweet voices in my ears as I feel their butterfly kisses on my cheek.