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 why. And 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”.
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!