Oh my goodness. My tiny little baby boy is growing up so, so quickly, and my poor heart cannot cope!
As parents, of course we celebrate each and every development, each milestone met and surpassed, each new skill learned and honed, we are cheering our children on from the sidelines of life, but bloomin’ heck, no one ever told me just how bittersweet it would feel.
He’s gone from shuffling, to crawling, to toddling, and then to sprinting like Usain Bolt. He’s currently learning how to ride a bike, and takes me aback every single day with the new skills he’s learning (mostly how to get us to do his bidding)… It’s terrifying.
When he was a colicky, projectile vomiting CMPA newborn I admit that I wished those precious days away, I couldn’t wait for this baby to be a toddler, to be able to tell me what hurt and engage with me more, but I regret it – even though those days were the hardest of my life. Now he’s a child, full of sass and knowing exactly how to wrap us around his little finger, my heart HURTS so much every time I look at him…
It hurts because I love him so, so much, I cannot even contain myself! It also hurts because I know that our days of sleepy snuggles, tickle chases, dinosaur video sessions on the sofa, messy painting fun, in fact all of the things that we share now, are well and truly numbered.
It hurts because of the unknown ahead of us. As we move on from these things, will we discover new shared fun to engage in together? Will he really want his mum to join in, or will he grow to be embarrassed of me trying to be his bestie and ‘down with the youth’ as I discuss Minecraft with his mates (yes, I’ve been playing this for five years now and love it)? I picture him on his eighteenth birthday trying to enjoy a boozy night with his mates and having to put up with this utterly besotted mum in the background doing shots, trying to drag him onto the dancefloor and asking the DJ to play old tunes from the 2000’s that no one remembers…
It hurts because now he’s here, I know how it feels to be well and truly needed on a tangible level – does anyone really physically NEED you like your child needs you, even your close family, friends and spouse? It’s a hard question but no matter how close you are with another person, there is absolutely no comparison to the bond between a parent and their little one, whether adopted or biological, they depend on you for every whim and every single step of their development. YOU ARE ‘THEIR PERSON’ and there is no greater role in the world!
Admittedly, ego comes into play; it’s fantastic for your ego to be able to say ‘hey, I grew this human being and raised him to be this wonderful person’ but once they’re finished growing… what next? What do you do? Having more children can extend your ‘service’ as a parent, but once your youngest is done growing, how on earth do people cope? I think this is called ’empty nest syndrome’ and I dread it. Is this why so many middle aged people have dogs? My own parents spring to mind here!
Am I just extraordinarily emotional and sentimental to overthink about all of this when I’m snuggling down with my gorgeous three year old? Or can every other parent relate? My heart cannot cope with the bittersweet flood of both love and pure dread when I think about it, I enjoy these moments with my boy so much and I feel heartbroken that one day, he’ll be independent and go off into this big, crazy world without me by his side. Bloomin’ heck, parenthood is way more emotional than I ever wagered!
I just hope that he still wants cuddles, even as a strapping, hairy 30 year old bloke…
Love from Katie. Xx