Monday, May 4, 2009

But, baby, you gotta grow up sometime...

So in most cases, it's the Mommy who has a hard time with her children growing up. And it's true in my case, except it seems that Cole is having a much harder time than me.

I had an end-of-the-year parent/teacher conference with Cole and Bella's preschool teacher on Friday morning. She raved about how well they both have done in this past school year and she said how much fun she had watching them grow and learn. When I asked her if she felt they were ready for kindergarten in the fall, she said, "Definitely, more than ready".

On the drive home from preschool, I told Cole and Bella about all the wonderful things Miss Denise had said about them and I asked, "Are you both excited about kindergarten?". Bella answered, all smiles, "I'm excited!" but Cole's reaction was surprising. He started crying....and then sobbing. I thought maybe he was just feeling anxious about having to switch schools and teachers and make new friends all over again. I kept saying, "But, Cole, you'll be at your new school for at least 8 years....with the same friends and you'll get to know all the teachers....it'll be fun". He still continued to sob the whole way home.

When I was tucking him into bed that night, the truth came out. He said, "Mommy, I don't want to go to kindergarten, I don't want to be 5 years old and I don't want to grow up." I asked him why wouldn't he want to grow up. His answer absolutely tore my heart into pieces....he started crying and said, "I won't be your baby boy anymore if I grow up. So you have to talk to God and tell him to keep me little forever...tell Him I don't want anymore birthdays and I'll even give up birthday cake if He'll let me stay little forever."

As I choked back my own tears, I tried telling him about all the wonderful things about growing up....getting to play sports with his friends, going to science camp, being tall enough to ride Space Mountain at Disneyland, perhaps being Class President, learning how to drive....it didn't deter him. He was still very upset at the thought of growing up and not being my baby boy anymore.

I assured him that he would always be my baby boy, no matter what. Nothing would ever change that....no matter what he ever did in life, good or bad....he would always be my baby boy and that I would always love him. He still continued to cry and said, "But I won't be little anymore....you won't be able to hold me".

I just sat there with him in my lap, rocking him gently, explaining that getting taller and growing up doesn't change the fact that he's still my baby...I said, "God created you to grow up and be happy and to enjoy life. Just treasure each and every day as it comes and be thankful for all the blessings we have in our lives. And, trust me, even when you're 15 years old and I have to stand on a kitchen chair in order to be able to kiss your cheek, you'll still be my baby. He replied, "But I want to have a choice...it shouldn't be God's choice".

After awhile, he stopped crying, as I kissed his tears away and kissed him goodnight and told him to have sweet, happy dreams....no more worrying about growing up. I went downstairs, melted into the sofa and dried my own tears.

Some more experienced mothers have assured me that the first day of kindergarten is actually harder on us mothers....and that every milestone in the process of growing up is hardest on us mothers. But my son may be the exception to that case. He and I will have to lean on one another throughout the years, as we learn to accept that time will continue to pass quicker than we anticipated.

As he was crying about not wanting to grow up, it took sheer will power to not tell him how much I would also love for him to stay little forever. As much as I wanted him to know that, I felt it was important to try my best to smile through my own tears and convince him of all the fun and happy things he had to look forward to as he grows up.

But I can't look at baby pictures of him without wanting to cry for those lost days when he fit so snugly in my arms, as I would rock him to sleep every night, feeling his warm breath against my neck and listening to the sweet sighs he would make every few seconds, as if he didn't have a care in the world. I think back to those days when I'd walk into his room first thing in the morning and he'd be laying in his crib, with the sweetest toothless grin on his face and it brings tears to my eyes. There was nothing more wonderful than hearing his first true belly laugh, the first time he said "mama" and "I love you", and watching him learn to sit up, then crawl and then, finally, to walk.

What I wouldn't give to turn back the hands of time and have him be that small again...I'd treasure the moments so much more than I did, knowing how quickly they pass us by. I know those moments simply vanish and turn into distant memories to be recalled on when I join the ranks of other teary-eyed mothers, as we watch our babies graduate from high school and then college and go on to be married and have their own families. And while I look forward to his future, part of me does wish he could stay little forever, where I can keep him safe and happy and protect him from the cruel reality that sometimes lurks in the world around us.

After a little while, I went back into his room to check on him. He was fast asleep with his teddy bear tucked safely under his arm and I whispered quietly to him, "Every day that passes by, not only are you having to accept that growing up is a part of life, but, as your mother, I'm having to learn that my heart needs to feel happy for you, and not ache for those days of past. Just between you and me, I wish so much that you could stay little forever too. But, baby, you gotta grow up sometime...."

35 comments:

Creative Junkie said...

That is so sweet, Helene.

For me, Kindergarten was tough. When my first went, I cried, knowing that my baby was, in fact, growing up a little.

When my youngest went, I cried harder, knowing that I'd never experience that moment again.

Now I'm dealing with high school and boyfriends with one, and third grade and playdates with another.

I blinked and they grew up.

HarryJack's Mom said...

Oh, these are sweet days - we've had similar conversations (tho not as eloquent) recently. I rocked them both last nite and promised I'd always be able to do that ... trying to think of creative ways and boosting that strength training ;-) Growing up hugs coming your way - enjoy all these moments!

Tami said...

Poor baby! With my older boys being 21 & 18, It's now them holding ME in their arms, them that comfort me. I lay my head on their chests while they hug me.
And my baby Caleb its hard seeing him grow up. Hes my last.

Your right, it's harder on us moms, then them. Cole is sensitive. And that mommy, is WONDERFUL!

I agree with Creative junkie, I blinked and they were grown up.

Alex said...

I don't know if you know the story "love you forever" by robert munsch (I think that is how it is spelled). Its about EXACTLY that-- a little boy that, even though he grows up is always his mum's baby. Its a beautiful story (I still sob through the ending) and I think COle would really appreciate the message...

I guess I am officially de-lurking at the same time! I used to be on the TTC board under the name canukqueen... I love to read your blog though, its HILARIOUS! (found it when I was reading bonnie's)...

hugs... Alex

The Mother said...

I'm so far from those rocking little ones days that I hardly remember them (sigh).

But they do grow up, even if they don't want to, and even if you tie bricks to their heads and stop feeding them.

And, of course, that's they way we want it. Really. I'm pretty sure.

LauraC said...

Maybe it's bc my boys are about to turn 3 in less than two weeks, but this post hit my heart. Love it. I wish my boys could stay small but at the same time, I'm so proud to watch them grow into little boys.

Hajar Zamzam Ismail said...

*sigh* Nostalgia bites, but bitter and sweet are two sides of the same coin.

Veronica Lee said...

It seemed like only yesterday my boys were babies!!

Kristina P. said...

He sounds like such a sweet, sensitive kid!

Karen said...

Wow, Helene. This story brought tears to my eyes. Kids are usually so anxious to hurry and grow up. They don't want to wait for things. The fact that Cole wants to stay little and stay with you forever is just beyond sweet.

Mrs. M said...

That is so sweet! And sad (or maybe that's just the pregnant hormones talking). My baby just turned 5 years old in March...I called my best friend at 3 am and bawled my eyes out! They grow up way too fast.

Monkey isn't worried about growing up, but he asks for constant reassurance that he is still my baby. As long as I answer "Sweetie, you will ALWAYS be my baby boy forever and and ever" he's happy. I don't know what I'd do if he started worrying about growing up!

Kim said...

Now that I have my morning cry out of the way . . . My second daughter was just like your Cole. She had a hard time adjusting to school (she wanted to stay little and be home with me), until 2nd grade when she connected with her teacher and also had some little friends who she really liked.

She's almost 9, but still my baby. I think out of my 4 children, she's the one who needs me the most—if she doesn't get lots of attention from me (hugs, talks, tucking in at night, etc.) I can see her start to get a little depressed, for lack of a better word.

Love this post—I can really relate.

with.much.love said...

This is so sweet. What a thoughtful, sweet little boy you have!

Mrsbear said...

Really, why'd you try to make me cry first thing on a Monday? As if I don't have enough to contend with. Beautiful post. I was a wreck when my six year old started preschool a couple of years back. He was the first one I was able to stay home with and enjoy and he was so broken up at having to leave me, I just couldn't stop sobbing...for about a week. I got better. I'm pretty sure I'll throw a party when my youngest goes though, he's trouble. ;)

Mrs Cooper said...

Kindegarten was hard on me with the first child who always paves the way for the other children. My little boy is my baby and he's 9 and still ask me, "Mommy, am I still your baby"? It gives me pleasure to tell him "You'll always be my baby". And then he'll hug me, kiss me and run off. I guess the snuggling days are over but moments, like that I treasure.

Zeemaid said...

beautiful post! very true. We all wish we'd cherish those times a little more. kindergarten wasn't hard for me so far because E's the oldest and it was nice to have a break. (she's very passionate) but O turning two last week made me pause and feel just a wee bit sad that I was losing my baby so I can relate. :)

newlyweds said...

Oh My that is the sweetest thing ever! He is so right, I don't want my boys to grow up either, tears!!

Tracy said...

Oh, man. This one hit me hard. Well done, mama.

wife.mom.nurse said...

I don't want to grow up either (sniff)

What a sweet boy. I just love kids, and yours do and say the cutest things!

Jennifer said...

*sniffle* My boy's front teeth are coming in and it's making me sad not to see his gums anymore! And he's fighting like mad to walk! It hurts my heart!

Savvy Little Women - Kate said...

Awww, so sweet! Ella goes to kindergarten this fall, it's crazy how fast time goes!

Missy said...

Aww! That broke my heart!

Kathy B! said...

Oh, Helene. You've got me in tears over here. If only we could grant his wish.

Sharlene said...

What a heartbreaker! Sometimes I look at my kids and thinkabout the day when they suddenly won't think I am the coolest person they know (they will,of course, be wrong. I am totally cool). Why must they grow up?

Tess said...

Oh how sweet. I love your descriptions of your feelings. Now, Im sad and wish that mine were babies again!

Stacey said...

Helene, your kids just kill me! They are so sweet and adorable (while they're not little demons hopped up on gummy bears. lol). They're definitely keepers. ;o)

Jen said...

I so know how you feel....

Ginny Marie said...

That is such a sweet story. Lily wanted to stay 3 forever, but I think she accepts 4 now....

Elle said...

Thanks for almost making me cry! What a sweet little boy. I'm also having a hard time letting my little one grow up because I know how fast it goes.

3 Bay B Chicks said...

Oh, Helene. Have you read the book, "I'll Love You Forever." It is so, so touching. I was reminded on the story as I was reading your post.

If you don't have this book, I am going to send you a copy. I just know that you would cherish it like I have.

Saying goodbye to our children's childhood is such a difficult thing to do.

-Francesca

Lana@The Kids Did WHAT?! said...

Just like Francesca, I too was reminded of the story Love You Forever by Robert Munsch.

Poor Cole. I hope the little guy doesn't stress about it too long. I think you handled it magnificently. Hang in there Mom and Cole!!

Amy W said...

That is too sweet, Helene. Making me all teary eyed before breakfast. :) Next year will be tough for me when my youngest goes to 1st grade and I'll have the house to myself. Whatever will I do? Oh yeah. Make soap!

Jan said...

Oh my! tears are flowing. It seems like just yesterday that I was holding my babies and wanting them to stay little. Now I am holding grand babies and know how precious each and every moment is, for those moments are gone in a blink of the eye. As I hold my oldest grandson on my lap, kissing his sweet cheek, I tell him he has to always let his Nana hold him like this....even when he is tall ( his daddy is 6'4"), even when he is 15! he just giggles and tells me that he will lt me hold him, always!

Michele S said...

That was a beautiful post, Helene.

Okay, how on earth is it that our five kids are BOTH going to kindergarten at the same time? I thought mine were a year older! Now I'm freaking out!

MommyAmy said...

Dang it woman! Why must you do this to me??? lol I'm here sobbing over a 3 day old post. DANG YOU!!!

Just kidding, I love you muchly.

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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