“They grow up so fast!”
It is a thing everyone says to parents. Memes float around reminding us not to take the mundane moments with our kids for granted, not to waste a minute, to revel in the tantrums and the midnight wake-ups. So many good-natured pep talks, so many wistful, cautionary messages. And, for me, so much resulting anxiety. Because I know that “They grow up so fast!” is less about my son’s fleeting youth as it is about my own.
“They grow up so fast!” assumes that amidst picking soggy raisins out of car seats and conducting elaborate, unbelievably specific bedtime rituals that I’m going to blink and miss it. That I’m so caught up in the bustle of de-crusting sandwiches and playing inane pop songs on repeat that I’ll wake up one day with my son in college and regret complaining about the time I laundered a giant pile of his vomit so well that it floated off his dried sheets like snowflakes. That I’m too busy pursuing the moving target of work-life balance to remember that one day my son will be older. And I will too.
Well, I’m not too busy. Even though I’m in the middle of it, I miss this moment fiercely, viscerally. This one right here. I’m all too aware that in 10 years I’ll have a scary, full-blown teenager, and I’ll be on the outside looking in, not only on my son at age almost-6, but on myself as a mom of an almost-6-year-old.
I’m already no longer the mom of a baby, and very soon I won’t be the mom of a small child. I won’t be an expert hair-detangler or the #1 Dragons Love Tacos-reader, or a somewhat evenly-matched baseball practice partner. I won’t be a walking trash receptacle, or the person who should always have a Kleenex at the ready but never does. I won’t be the recipient of creatively-spelled love notes or of stern backseat admonitions to drive under the “speed lemon.” I won’t be the magical authority with all the answers, or the dispenser of problem-solving hugs. I won’t be the one who gets to hold a grubby little hand. I won’t have my best buddy, my PIC. That him won’t exist anymore. Neither will this me. I don’t need a reminder. I already miss them both.
Bekah Page-Gourley is an attorney and contributing writer for LittleGuide Detroit. She lives with her husband, Jason, and son Isaac, in Lafayette Park, Detroit. They love experiencing the city’s growth, hosting visitors and talking about Detroit’s virtues with anyone who will listen. Bekah and her family love going to Detroit City Football Club and Tigers games, Eastern Market, the Riverfront, and Downtown.