There's something rather malicious about January for me. My oldest and youngest were both born in January, only a week apart. Well, they weren't born a week apart. Their birthdays are a week apart. Six years and a week apart. So every January I get to celebrate my "big baby" and my "forever baby", BAM! BAM!! Just like that.
Which is wonderful but really hard too. It just kills me how time keeps rushing on and these children keep growing. There's no stopping it. My oldest keeps forging into new big kid territory and my youngest leaves all that territory behind never to be tread again. With every milestone Dee makes we joyfully realize all those firsts. With every milestone Cee meets we realize with a painful twinge it will be for the last time.
I don't mean to sound like such a sob. I really do get rather excited, if not a tad giddy, seeing the new stage of life we are in. It's liberating and fun and exciting. But I can't help but mourn the death of our baby stage. No more positive pregnancy tests. No more flutterings in my baby bump. No more birth stories. No more new baby smell. No more first sit-up, first crawl, first steps. No more first birthdays No more second birthdays.
As the mom it's hard not to have an identity crisis. For the past ten years I have been 100% committed to baby-making, -growing, and -nurturing. Now what do I do? What is my new position, responsibilities, frame of mind?
I thought I had been handling the transition fairly gracefully until the other day. Now that my oldest two are getting old enough to be at home by themselves for small amounts of time we are getting a home phone line. We've only had cell phones for most of our marriage and since I believe that children having their own personal cell phones is outlandishly ridiculous we will be providing them with a land line to get in touch with us if we are not at home when they are.
The other day my oldest two came home from school and sat at the table where I was working on a project. Seeing this as an opportunity to present the new home phone as an exciting big kid privilege I opened my mouth to relate the good news.
I only made it through "Now that you guys are getting older..." before crumpling into tears. As I listened to myself it just hit me: They really are getting older! After nine plus years of spending nearly every waking (and sometimes not so "waking") moment with my children they are getting old enough to be left alone. They don't need me for every little thing. They are growing up. How did this happen?
My children just looked at me with confusion. I tried to laugh it off, recompose myself, and launch into my little speech again. "Now that you guys are getting older..." Now I was just laughing and crying at the same time. My son giggled awkwardly while my daughter, in her typical loving fashion, rushed to comfort me, patting my back and brushing my hair away from my face. Which only made me sob harder. Like shaking body sobs. (I'm not proud.)
In an effort to get it all out and move on already I just ended up blurting/yelling, "WHY DO YOU GUYS HAVE TO GET OLDER?! JUST STOP GROWING, OKAY?!" And then I laughed a lot, probably more maniacally than intended, just to lighten up the situation and help my kids understand they weren't truly in trouble for doing something so horrible as growing up.
Poor kids. I wonder at which therapy session they'll bring this scene up...
Finally I was able to compose myself enough to tell them about the new phone and boy are they excited! And yes, for all my psycho-ness, I'm just as excited as they are. Excited at their excitement, excited at meeting yet another "first", and yes, even excited at my own new found freedom.
Ugh. "They" warned me about the contractions and the sleepless nights and the soreness from breastfeeding and the Terrible Twos and all the pain and trials and terrible-ness. But no one ever told me how much it would hurt when all that was over and it was time to move on.