Some mothers cannot wait until their children are much older, or at least old enough to start doing things without their help. But for some others, a heavy cloud follows us around as we push the stroller because we’re in no rush to move beyond the baby phase.
If you routinely look back and stare at pictures of your babies when they were little, then I’m talking to you.
In the days when I was out and about with my very own newborn, I could sense how these women (maybe most whose children were already grown) felt by the sight of us. Nostalgia immediately took hold of them and they would begin,
I remember when my child was that small…
Even before I gave birth and was just showing, it would elicit similar reactions from total strangers. A pregnant woman is an unavoidable reminder of such a past, but I’m no fool. I knew my days were also numbered.
If you have several children then perhaps you get to hold on to it longer but eventually, even the last one will grow up too. I’ve heard that it doesn’t matter how many kids you have, the thought of any of them (from way back when) still takes your breath away. Sigh.
One afternoon while at an amusement park, the female attendant helping my baby exit a ride squeezed in a hug for herself before handing him over to me.
I suppose it’s just a delicious stage to sniff and squeeze without protest that has a fond place in our memory bank. Their sweet and affectionate ways delight us deeply during this most precious season of our lives. But, their refreshing innocence is fleeting.
With every step they take, they shed their former self to make room for a new look. After my child has reached the next milestone I keep asking myself, “Where has my baby gone?” because the one in front of me, is not the original I once held in my arms.
I will also undergo a metamorphosis, eventually. The mother he remembered will become elderly. I’m sure I won’t recognize myself by then either and will miss what I once was, too. Appearances aside, I’m sure all parents want to hang around for as long as they possibly can to see it all.
I do try to keep myself in the present. However, I have my weak moments. When we’re playing together for example, I can’t help but think about how the time will come when he’ll no longer be interested in my company on the same level. On another occasion, I’m simply focused on the sound of his voice when I hear him speak, that until puberty still belongs to that of a small child. I don’t want it to ever go away.
But, the reality is that upon adolescence and beyond it will and that our interaction with our former babies will be very different in general.
For now, I remain thankful that he still engages me with pretend battles while announcing that he is Darth Vader and I’m Yoda as we wait for the school bus. This won’t last forever and I’m well aware. It’s an underlying sadness that joins some of us on our motherhood journey.
Well hey. I am happy that we still have so many more years together before any big changes occur, even though my child has been telling me this a little too much lately,
No more kisses, only hugs.
Sure, I’m grateful for the latter but ugh.