When he was born he was so strong willed. A tiny wrinkly faced master who wanted more of me than I knew I had. He cried. A lot. Either suckling or crying, there was no other state. I walked the streets for hours with the buggy to give him some rest, some sleep. If I stopped he woke, and screamed. He had the loudest scream I had ever heard and I struggled to stay calm, stay patient. Some days I pushed that buggy with tears streaming down my face. I loved him so much, and he me.
Then he grew and still wanted to be near me, at all times. He only slept when he was touching me. He would be fast asleep. Yet if I took away that face or hand, that he had grabbed onto with his tiny chubby fist, he would wake and look at me eyes full of love, indignation and need. I learned what it felt like to be adored. Part of me pulling away, needing space, and part of me loving it. He taught me how to parent with patience.
Then he grew more and branched out. Sometimes choosing Daddy for comfort. He slowly took independence, expanded his horizons. He started preschool, extended his circle further to include his teachers and his friends. He’s a funny, caring, good natured boy who is liked by everyone he encounters. I am proud. Then he returns to me and he cuddles me with his whole body, spreading his limbs until he’s touching me with every part. I realise he is not the only one being comforted by this. It’s bliss.
Now he’s ready for his next adventure. His preschool days end this week and after a long summer he’s starting school. He’s ready and excited. He chatters away excitedly about ‘big school’. Seeing his big brother every day at school, the new teachers, new classroom, he wants to leap in with both feet and grab the experience, I can tell. I am happy. I want this for him.
Is it ok that it makes me a little sad? That I will miss my exuberant little buddha baby, my tearaway toddler, my hilarious preschooler? I need to embrace each stage of life as it happens, hang on, enjoy the ride. I need to find a way to make peace with my children growing because it’s happening whether I’m ready or not.