Last week, my son’s elementary school had Open House. My husband, older son, and I went with the youngest to see his classroom and to look at the Science Fair projects. This was the first time my older son has been back to the elementary school since starting middle school this past fall.
We walked in, and Wesley looked around as though seeing the place for the first time. As we started down the hallway towards Wayde’s classroom–Wesley had the same 3rd grade teacher, so he was very familiar with his surroundings–he commented, “This place seems so small now.”
I looked at him, somehow the same uncertain little boy who’d been afraid to make that step into 6th grade, and yet somehow so different, so much more mature and confident, and I wondered, not for the first time, when that change had taken place.
Then I looked at Wayde, my baby. He’s not a baby anymore, but he hasn’t yet made any of the great leaps in confidence and personality that his brother has. Yet he, too, is different than he was at the beginning of this school year.
I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I see my kids’ lives in great detail every day. So much of my focus is on them, yet I often don’t detect the little changes that occur in them with every passing day. It’s often not until someone points something out to me–he’s gotten so tall, when did his voice change?–that I take a step back and process what they’re seeing.
And sometimes, those changes scare me, for they mean that my babies aren’t babies anymore. They’re getting bigger, and older, and closer to spreading their wings and leaving the nest.
I’m so not ready for that.
For all the times I’ve wished they were a little older, a little more self-sufficient so that I could begin focusing just a little bit on the things I’ve put aside so that I could put my time and energy into their lives, now that it’s happening, I’m not ready.
I’ve heard so many pastors and parents advise, “Appreciate those growing up years. The days are long, but the years are short.” And now I’m beginning to realize just how true that is.