Tonight I had one of those shocking realizations of how fast time is passing. It all started very innocently. This morning, when getting the kids in the car to go to swimming lessons, I decided to forego the standard infant carrier carseat we have been using the past nine plus months and I strapped Whitaker into Willie's convertible carseat.
He LOVED it!
I took those photos with my iphone and sent my Mom a picture. She responded with an appropriate text response: "how cute. . . perfect timing 2 b a big boy . . . his last day as the baby of our family"
(I guess I should insert here that my sister is scheduled to have her labor induced tomorrow morning bright and early, so with luck, by lunchtime I will have a brand spanking new niece or nephew!)
As I read those words, a sudden panic came over me. Whit no longer a baby?
I have been avoiding the fact that he is indeed growing up. I avoid thinking about his age and the milestones he is achieving. Seriously, I've become that mom that has to actually count out his age (picture me with that squinty, looking up to the sky face as I look at my fingers and count, "May, June, July . . ." to the current month) on my fingers in order to tell people how old he is. This isn't because I am not able to count, it is because I do not want to acknowledge how old he is. I also have found it unconcerning at all that he refuses to crawl forward or pull himself up from a sitting position at the couch or coffee table. Never mind that Walker was walking at 11 months - the other kids too - I have no comparisons. As far as I'm concerned, the last major milestone I am allowing him to have is sitting up on his own. Oh, and eating on his own. There is a refreshing freedom to be found now at suppertime because I can just cut up tiny pieces of whatever we are eating and feed it to him. I can actually try to sit and eat a few bites before one of the kids needs a refill of their drink or forgot they wanted ketchup.
But all other developmental milestones are off limits!
I know this weekend, when we go to visit my sister and her beautiful new baby, Whit is going to seem like a MONSTER and my heart is going to be a little crushed with the physical evidence that Whit is no longer a baby.
This all begs the question, "How do all of you moms out there do it? How do you deal with your kids growing up?" Because it KILLS me.
I'm sure my emotions are acerbated by the fact that I have been in planning mode for Maggie's 5th birthday next week.
That is a big number. Big things happen at 5. Five is a long way from this:
Walker has agreed to stop growing at age eight. He chose eight because at eight he will be old enough to enter 4H shows. But he doesn't understand that just minutes ago, he looked like this:
And tomorrow we're headed to the orthodontist to have his expander adjusted.
And Willie - well, I will be honest in saying that I am looking forward to outgrowing this three year old stage. As loveable as he is, I did not expect this guy:
To turn into this guy:
And I completely forgot that nine months of growing a baby inside your belly is nothing compared to nine months watching him grow outside.
One year ago, I had this:
Nine months ago, I had this:
And every day, I wake up to this beautiful boy who is TRULY the happiest baby in the world:
I am so very blessed, and so very grateful for the privilege of getting to raise these four creatures. They have taught me so much about God's love. What an honor it is to be their mother. My fervent prayer is that I will cherish every moment and hold it fast to my heart. I try not to take for granted that every moment I have is precious. And there is not one thing about it I would want to miss!