It’s like I blinked and my tiny, squishy baby turned into a tall, independent man. You might think my son is 18 but he’s really only 18 months. But he might as well be a full-grown man because that’s how it feels to me. He doesn’t want to hold my hand or cuddle as much as he used to and his features are becoming more defined and less cherubic. I know that all of this growth and development stuff is totally normal in biological terms, but that doesn’t make it any easier on my heart. I still want to be there when he needs me – even if he thinks he doesn’t.
Obviously I know that it’s healthy for my son to be testing boundaries and asserting his will. Just like I know it’s probably creepy that sometimes I watch him sleep because he’s just so stinking cute it hurts. But maybe that’s what being a mom is. Logic doesn’t make sense and our senses don’t seem logical. I love that he’s getting more independent – the whole “able to hold his own neck up” thing is cool – but is it so wrong that I want him to stay a baby, too?
My little man is almost done with swim class and is getting ready to start day care in just a few, short weeks. While I swell with pride when he learns something new and I have fun shopping for pint-sized backpacks and lunch boxes, part of me is scared, too. Daycare will be the first time he’s been away from me with people I don’t know. That’s not to say I don’t trust this place to take care of him, but there’s still a great, big unknown. What if he hurts himself while there? They don’t know our special boo-boo song! Will he survive without it?
But at the end of the day, I know that this parenting gig is about him not me. I don’t want to be the hovering mom who deprives her son of learning how to be resilient on his own. I want to be the mom that lets him explore and make mistakes but isn’t ever too far away for a hug. So for now, I’ll stop worrying about life passing too quickly and focus on the here and now.
But I may watch him sleep for just one more second…