friday. it’s the new thursday.

September 14th, 2012
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I recently re-read my last “Thursday with Noah” post. And I still can’t believe almost a whole year has passed since I decided to take this once-a-week with my boy and just disappear for the day.

And although it felt like an ending (and I felt sad, as a result), I know that it really isn’t. It’s just an end to this phase. A reader (and new blogger friend) commented on a recent post where I described the push-pull of time as a “mourning”. The word resonated with her, and I wondered whyAnd why did I choose that word anyway? A word typically reserved for a death, or other grave loss.

So I gave it some serious thought. I couldn’t even understand it myself at first – I have said many times that I would never want my kids to be any other age than the ages they were right now. Yes, the teen years are a challenge. And my heart broke more than a little when Chelsea left home for college.

And potty training? Yeah.

But I’ve never once thought, “Oh, I wish they were (fill in the blank) years old again”.

So why do I feel “mournful” when they pass from one phase into the next?

It eventually hit me.

When our children move – from newborn to baby, from toddler to schoolkid, from teen to adult – they leave behind that particular child they once were. Like shedding a skin, and emerging as someone (almost) brand new. And in the process, so many things change, never to go back to the way they were.

Feet get bigger.  Hair grows longer. Faces narrow and sharpen.

Garbled words become clear and distinct. Arms no longer stretch up to be held.

And so, in a way, it is like a loss – a loss of that child that will never be again.  At least that how it’s been for me. Over the years I’ve heard parents remark, “I can’t wait for this phase to be over with”. Or, “I’m counting the days till she’s in school full-time”.

Not me.

I’m acutely aware of the passing of time, and never more so than with Noah. It’s already going so fast, and my Thursdays were just one tiny attempt to reclaim the kind of time with him that I was already starting to lose.

So that last Thursday was big for me. Not because we won’t have our ‘day’ – in fact, he’ll be going to school 4 days a week so that we can continue our adventures. Except now they’ll be on Fridays. And I suppose I’ll have to find some more “bigger boy” activities.

I don’t know what else to do – when I look at these photos of Chelsea and Conor (taken at just the same age as Noah is now), they might as well be someone else’s children – I can only remember bits and pieces of them at “almost 4”. And that’s where the sadness comes in.

So other than lots (and LOTS) of pictures, diligently filing and saving birthday cards, school assignments and art projects,  I don’t know how else to capture them as they move through their lives – growing, changing and ever leaving their old selves behind.

photo credit: Sue Malat

So today is our first official “Friday”. And what, you may wonder, will we be doing?

Oh, it’s a thriller.

We’re getting new shoes. Because those tiny little feet that I am crazy about just keep getting bigger…….

How do you do it? Especially those of you who have children who are close in age – which must make life seem like a blur at times. I’d love to know if you can relate to this at all, and how you go about trying to “hold on”. Or do you not even try, just focusing on being “in the moment” and trusting that memory and a few photos clicked on your phone are good enough? Please share!

17 Responses to “friday. it’s the new thursday.”

  • It’s even more bittersweet for me, I think, because having the girl was so difficult and hard won. We came THIS close to never having a family. I still can’t believe our good fortune.

    So as she grows, like you, I do love each age and stage. Some I’m more suited to but they have all been special. At almost 7 she’s part little girl, part big girl with a few glimmerings of the teenager that she will eventually be.

    I keep the keepsakes and take the photos and all that but I suppose what I actively TRY to do in addition to being in the moment (shoo you social media that can be a distraction!), is to make sure she isn’t too over scheduled. To make sure that we have enough family time where we’re hanging out and doing stuff together.

    And I also have the craziness about the feet!

  • Sheri, this was beautiful. I went through an episode of depression when Jonah transitioned to full day kindergarten. It’s not that I wanted him to stay a baby or preschooler. For me, I think it was a complete mothering paradigm shift (he’s our youngest so it hit me harder than it did with Ellie) and I wasn’t sure what to do with that.

    I am blessed to have kids who enjoy spending time with the family. I don’t know why, and I don’t want to question it. But they do and Dave and I soak it in as much as we can.

    I do try to focus on the moment. Although, from time to time, I go back and look through old photos. Sometimes it’s a shock how much time has past and how much I’ve forgotten. But I’m trying to be okay with that.

    xo

    • sherisilver says:

      I loved this Jen – I still vividly recall, when Conor got on the bus for the first day of “full day” kindergarten, thinking, “Today is the first day in 10 years that I don’t have someone to have lunch with”. And that was over a decade ago. Thanks so much. xoxo

  • After our third baby was born memories of our older two as babies came flooding back to me but rational me (quite smart and useful but not always present) knows that continuing to have babies is not a reasonable way to hold on to all those memories. I guess the pictures will have to do. Thanks for writing this. It is such a blur.

  • Hi Sheri, I loved your writing and thoughtfulness on this. I’ve called the process mourning, too, in conversations with my husband. And, I know that it is a bit overdramatic to do so…and yet you pose it so nicely…

    Thank you for asking about those with children closer together. I feel that challenge in that I can remember time with the first and the third so much better than the second…and I don’t want to be cliche. But with 2 years between each, it has been a challenge to be sure we relish each stage of each of them…without our heads exploding.

    Thanks for the validation. XO, MJ

    • sherisilver says:

      Thanks so much for this – Even my first two were 5 years apart and I think that makes a difference – although all these years later, not so much anymore. It all feels so, so long ago. xo

  • I love the picture of his feet the best. It makes my heart hurt a little because both of my boys’ feet are so big now. What you will have with this parenting experience that you did not have with the other two, at this same age, is this wonderful blog and all of these posts about your experiences together to revisit. Even six years apart it is a challenge because their needs are so different and by attending to one, I sometimes miss what is happening with the other.

  • I have to add one more thing. I was having wine with an American expat whose little boy is 6 and moving from one school to the next this year(I can’t remember the French names off the top of my head) but she commented that it is refreshing that when they go through this change, the parents are very emotional, and the French teachers say: yes it is sad and it is very normal to feel this way. So maybe that is where the mournfulness comes from 😉

    • sherisilver says:

      I know, Jesse – my first 2 are 5 years apart and so I get what you mean about “no overlap” (as I often put it). I love that the teachers there are so understanding. And I’m glad that it’s “normal” to feel this way! xo

  • Loved this post. Being childless so far, it’s so nice to read that dedication and pure love. Thank you!

  • With an almost 4 year old and a 21 month old, I’ve recently lamented the blur of passing time myself. The author of the Happiness Project wrote “The days are long, but the years are short” and that really hit home with me. You always think you will remember, but life gets in the way.
    I’ve recently started doing 2 things to help me be present and grateful and to remember. Every night I write 1 sentence about each of my sons – something funny that was said, something cute, some little new-found joy. I write a longer letter to each son each month on the day of their birth, just talking about them and what they like, what they do, what we’ve been up to. I would like to add pictures, but haven’t started yet.

    These two little projects help me be present each day, help me focus on the GOOD, help me keep perspective, and help me really see my kids for who they are (as opposed to the snotty-nosed primate shrieking at me). I know one day I will treasure these things.

    • sherisilver says:

      I love this! I was much better with my older 2 (now 21 and 16) – and have fallen short on journal-keeping with Noah. Am going to start the “1-sentence a night” tonight – thank you! 🙂

  • I can relate so much! mine are 3 years apart, three girls. My oldest in 2nd grade told me today she is growing up and I can’t keep her little anymore. So sad. I usually get that pit in my stomach when I look at her and realize she has already changed from 5 to 7 before my eyes. five is just an irreplacealbe age, so tender-and I miss it at times, but looking ahead to relish whatever awaits us as I relish my other sweet girls too.
    Thanks for the post.

    • sherisilver says:

      Thank YOU! Second grade and “growing up”?? Ugh – it really goes so, so fast. But having been on the other side I can truly say that it’s all good. Just different. And I agree about 5 – it’s special……

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