I feel like we’re at a point in my little family where Time is moving at break-neck speed. We are warping ahead, and I want to get so lost in the moments. I want to devour every little memory, every little impression, seal it in my brain so that when these little ones aren’t so little, or even within their little-ness, I remember, I know, how blessed I have been, I am.
They are growing up. Minute by minute, day by day, and this is exciting, and beautiful, and scary, and sad. And sometimes, I hesitate. Sometimes, I want to just stay where we are for a little longer, linger a bit.
Take this, for instance: The Eldest has a very good memory, and is super smart. But he has his quirks. For as long as I can remember, when he is counting, it sounds like this: ”twelve, thirteen, fourteen, five-teen, sixteen…” He knows that it is actually fifteen, really. When we had conversations about it, a long time ago, he would tell me things like “I know, Mommy, but I like to say five-teen.” And honestly, it’s hard to argue. I does make pretty logical sense. As does some more of his counting: “twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, twenty-ten. Thirty-one…” Same when he gets to thirty-ten, and forty-ten. I love that it is a glimpse into his brain — this wonderful world of his. It has become a very endearing thing, something unique to him and his view of the world.
So, it took me my complete surprise when, at the dinner table a few nights ago, he was counting about something and rolled right on through his teens: “fourteen, fifteen, sixteen…” without even missing a beat. I immediately glanced up and made eye contact with my husband, and could not keep the tears from rolling down my cheeks. Now, I know that I am a bit hormonal, and even I was shocked at my response, but I had to turn away from the Eldest. I don’t even know if I can explain, really. He had been in school for about a week, and part of me felt like in reviewing numbers at school, he began to relinquish his ideas of counting for the more conventional way taught by his teachers. He was also so much more grown up to me after just a week and a half of school this year — so confident, so steady — that I know I’ve had a hard time giving up my baby boy already. It catches my breath when I’m not expecting it. Growing up is hard; for a kid, for a parent. I’m thankful that when I overheard him counting in his room during quiet time yesterday, the tens came rolling faithfully off of his tongue: “twenty-ten…. thirty-ten… forty-ten.”
And the Littlest. Sigh. Spurred on my her big brother, surely, she seems to be racing out of any baby-ness left in her bones. After successfully sharing a room on vacation, we came home thinking it would be sooner than later that she would move in with her brother, making room for the little babe in January. But I just can’t do it, not yet. It would be a move from downstairs, right across the hallway from my room, to upstairs in our little cape cod house, where the kids have their very own space. The rocking chair will not follow her upstairs. I will not easily give up those precious moments, just before bed, just the two of us rocking and singing and praying and talking about our day. I know that as she moves upstairs we will gain new ways to have tender moments, but I cannot bring myself to embrace that yet. And I don’t need to. There is no rush. The little babe will sleep in my room for a while, and there is just so little time to be little.
I breathe. I refuse to fill these moments with more than they can hold. I won’t push them out of my reach, and I try with all my might to hold loosely, delicately. I won’t stand in the way of the little ones growing up, but I refuse to be responsible for making it happen too quickly.
Here’s to counting up the moments: one at a time. Fourteen, five-teen, sixteen…