Saturday, April 17, 2010

Staring Down The Barrel Of The Gun; Peeing Into The Wind**

I can easily be classified as an unrealistic mother, where my growing children are concerned.

The passage of time, however commonplace, very rarely intrudes upon my day. I cuddle and breathe deep breaths of baby-hair, without actually realizing there's not a baby in my arms...but a squirming, back-talking toddler. I don't notice my baby's lengthened legs, or if I do, I file the knowledge away for later examination. Then I go back to tracing the contour of her chubby cheeks and poking at the kissable dimples on her knuckles. I don't notice the young-ladyish gleam in my big girl's eyes, choosing instead to twirl her hair between my fingers and feel her arms wrap around my legs while I'm making dinner.

The impenetrable wall around my baby-loving mind stays intact through countless bombardments of quickly growing children, until, unsuspecting, my eyes notice something. Something small and inconsequential, perhaps. A clearly enunciated phrase. A hand swiping bangs out of frustrated eyes. A foot.

My eyes start to see truth against their will. The time that had been cordoned back, waiting to burst forward, is gracefully unleashed. I see my girls, older and longer. Yelling and running, not mewling and helpless. My baby requests dresses now. She speaks in paragraphs. She turns her head down into her shoulder looks up through thick eyelashes when caught dancing to her made-up tune. She whacks her big sister on the head with a roll of wrapping paper. Her shoulder is smooth and angular, not round and squishable.

I am not the mother of babies anymore.

But, in these glimpses of time that reveal the truth, I like what I see. It's not that I don't appreciate all the beauty of my growing girls, just that I want to have the babyhood always before me, always available to be cuddled and adored.

I want both. I want to watch my girls grow. But I don't want them to grow older than they are right now, which is already too old. I want to learn their personalities and watch them become individuals. But I don't want them to loose their innocence. I want them to experience all the fun of growing up. But I want to shield them from any struggles. (Yes, I know struggles help build character and teach life lessons. Blah.)

These are impossibilities. I can't have it both ways. (Unless I perpetually make babies....but, still. They'll grow, too!) I have to pick, and it doesn't make sense to choose babyhood. It's gone already, anyway.

I have to choose forward motion. I have to be aware of every bit of growing up, even if it means I can't pretend my toddler is still a baby. I have to bite the bullet, and accept the growth.

And I will love it, of course.

But I don't have to like it.




** As directed by Joey to Chandler in Season 3 of Friends regarding how to pursue Janice for a committed relationship. I apologize for using a Friends reference as a post title, but...I love Friends. (Don't YOU?!) Justin and I were watching this particular episode while I wrote, and it seemed perfect at the time. I do often think of life in Friends' phrases. (Don't YOU?!)

5 comments:

  1. Watching babies grow into toddlers and beyond is such a bittersweet experience. I still want to hold on to Levi's babyness...despite how quickly it is slipping away. Okay, so it has pretty much slipped. But, I still cherish the moments when I can get little glimpses of the baby in him. At the same time, this toddlerhood thing is pretty incredible. He's becoming so funny and sweet (if you ignore the tantrums...which I usually do).

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  2. I totally think it friend's phrases. Whenever my hubs helps out with the boys I exclaim, "I've been given the gift of time." (From When Ross was going to have to commute)

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  3. I DO love Friends, with all my heart :) There will always be a special place for them in my heart!
    And man you hit the nail on the head with this post. Lovely.

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  4. Sometimes when my husband and I are holding Gabriel or Eli, we'll say, "I miss Baby {insert whichever name here}." I think you summed it up by saying you want both, to see them grow up but also have them stay just as they are. I agree with Corinne: you hit the nail on the head :)

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  5. I love it, but I don't like it. So true. My baby is eleven. Ugh, how can that be? Where's my nonsense-talking toddler?

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Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?