By ROBIN O’BRYANT
It’s happening so fast, I can hardly stand it. My kids, my babies, are growing up. There’s nothing I’ve wanted more in my life, than to gut punch the random strangers who looked me in the eye when my kids were really young and said things like, “These are precious moments. Hold on, it goes by so fast!”
Anger coursed through my entire body. Maybe the moment I’ve realized I’ve come to the grocery store to buy a month’s worth of groceries, made it to the check out line, then realized I have no form of payment, my nine-month-old is crying because she needs to eat, my two-year-old is begging to go to the potty—not because she actually needs to go, but because she is in what child psychologists refer to as the “I’m Gonna Tinkle in Every Potty in This Town” phase of potty training—and my four-year-old just shoplifted a pack of gum, and is slowly opening each piece and chewing it even slower. Just daring me, or the cashier, to call her a thief. Maybe, just MAYBE, random stranger, this was not our moment. Maybe you should have held your tongue. But as much as I hate to admit it—she was right.
Aubrey, Emma, and Sadie are eight, seven, and four-years-old, respectively, at this point and I can’t believe their infancies and toddlerhoods are over. Since I’m not reading this out loud to you, you should know that statement was more of an “I can’t believe we made it!!! We survived! We are all here! We beat SIDS and the croup, and potty training! And HOLY COW, we have all of our teeth and we can talk!! We use WORDS! Real words!!! To say what we need! Instead of crying and/or screaming! Thank you, Lord Jesus! It’s over!”
That’s not to say that I don’t miss holding a squishy, powdery-smelling baby on my lap— I do. I just don’t miss it at 1:00 a.m., 3:37 a.m., 4:57 a.m., 6:02 a.m., and 7:34 a.m., at all.
You know what people don’t tell you about raising kids? It gets better.
Sure the baby stuff is fun. But right now, my girls can play pretend for hours. Not only are they entertained, but so am I. I get to eavesdrop and hear their personalities emerging in their role-play. Aubrey acts as scriptwriter and director. Emma and Sadie regularly revolt. They play together for hours in our Mississippi yard—digging holes in the dirt, building fairy houses, or chasing our dog. I always have an eye on them, but it’s not the same as it used to be—that constant panic of impending death or dismemberment. The “OH NO! Get that out of your mouth! Spit it out! No! Money doesn’t go in your mouth!” days are gone.
But, blissfully—and unknowingly—they are still babies. No way I can toss Aubrey on my hip like I used to, and Emma’s legs are almost as long as mine. I call Sadie, “Emma,” more than I call her by her own name because she’s growing so fast she constantly looks like her older sister. But they are innocent and sweet. Their language is young and I can’t bring myself to tell Aubrey that when she says “Mmmm-hmmm. TALK about it!” that the expression is actually, “TELL me about it!” And I can never correct Emma when she says “pinger,” instead of “finger.”
‘Cause, these are precious moments and they’ll be gone before we know it.
Mmmm—hmmm. Talk about it.