When we were in Florida last summer, we took Jack to a park near Matt's parents house so he could splash around in the fountains. I rested my hot pregnant self on the stadium type seats while Matt and Jack played in the water. I was enjoying watching them, and as I sat, I listened to the women talking around me.
They were talking about their kids, as we moms do, and I heard one mom say about her son 'he is just getting so big, he is starting to lose that baby look'. This is memorable to me because 1. yeah...I get that feeling, and 2. I also overheard her mention that he was starting 5th grade that year. I remember thinking 'whoa lady, reign that in, he lost the 'baby' look a long time ago'.
I thought about it a little more though, and honestly? That will be me. So much of me wants to cling to Jack's baby years, to keep him this way, to slow this steady march of days and weeks. When I look at Jack I see my baby Jack, but when I really look, I see that he is quickly growing into a little boy. His legs are getting longer, his face is thinning out, his smile has changed, his little muscles are getting more defined, and I see more and more of a 'kid' personality emerge.
Just a few days ago he ran excitedly into the house to get his pirate sword to show to his friends in the neighborhood. He was so excited to show it to them, to fit in with these older boys, and for some reason it kind of broke my heart as I stood at the window and watched.
I mean, this is what I want for him, this is what we have worked towards, right? Teaching him how to be a person in today's world, showing him how to meet new friends, to share his toys, to be independent. I just didn't realize it would be so sudden I guess.
It is so hard. Sometimes he seems impossibly small, but then I pull his shirt over his head in the morning to find that his arms are too long for his sleeves. He has grown even more.
It's not that I am sad about it, no, I want this for them! I want both of my sons to find what I have found. A loving marriage, the joys of raising your own children, navigating the complexities of this blessedly wonderful world as they become the men God created them to be. I wouldn't hold him back from that, but the momma in me wants this to last a little bit longer.
I hope that I can always catch a glimpse of the 'baby look', even if it is hidden deep inside the men they become. So I guess, in a way, I hope that I AM that mom on the playground who looks at her son on the cusp of manhood and thinks 'he's starting to lose that baby look'.