I want to freeze time. But they say it just keeps getting better.
I want them to grow up. But they say that I’ll miss my babies.
I want them to stay little. But they say I can’t hold on forever.
So I will just enjoy today. Today we have an almost six year old, a ten year old, and a half-way through the year to being a 13 year old…so we will keep calling her 12 for as long as we can.
No one in our house is a teenager, no one needs a curfew, no one needs their butt wiped or their sandwiches made. They can cook. They can clean. They can put away their own laundry. They can read their own bedtime stories. They can load the dishwasher. They are starting to enjoy coffee. They can dress themselves. They can do much of their own homework. They shower independently. They know how to brush their own teeth and hair. And do ponytails. They can eat things without me cutting the food into little pieces. They can go hours without snacks. They don’t make me carry sippy cups for them. They can entertain themselves. They now teach me things. They like movies that I like. I like music that they like. They can feed the cats. They make me laugh. THEY GET MY JOKES! They can debate logically. They have dear friends. They cry about bigger things than a boo-boo. They can catch a ball and throw it with aim. They can almost beat me in a race. They can tie their own shoes. They still mostly prefer hanging with family than with friends. But the almost 13 is for sure leaving more.
But they cannot drive yet and are dependent on our transportation. They need the food we cook and the clothing we buy. They are not old enough for well paying jobs. They still need us – a lot. But not in the way it was. The way before they were all almost six. I barely remember the lifting, and wiping, and running after, and nose picking, and diaper pail filling, or mouth wiping, or bathing, or doing all of the chores myself. The laundry, cooking, cleaning up. I barely remember having to be outside with them when they were outside. To watch, to play with, to just make sure they were okay. Now I’m outside because I want to be – because I want to try to win back my glory of tether-ball champion or beat the middle one in a race and the little one in a jump-rope battle, to plan and plant a garden together. To teach them how to mow the grass.
Now we find ourselves in a different room from them much of them time – they want their own space – but want to know that we are there in case. But not because they need us for everything. I sometimes spend time embarrassing them with my dance moves to Uptown Funk. They share cool YouTube videos with me. We laugh together at the latest Jimmy Fallon clips. We watch PG-13(yes, even the five year old) movies because they are GOOD. We order grown-up food and I haven’t made nuggets or noodles at home in a very long time. Their tastes are maturing..and mine are trying to stay young for them. But not too young as they don’t want me wearing their clothing. But they are starting to steal mine.
So I want to freeze time here. This in-between needing me for daily living and needing me to pick them up past curfew at a party. I want to freeze time here where we can talk politics and world news yet they are not old enough to vote. I want to freeze time here where I don’t have to watch cartoons but the movie we watch together isn’t full of sex and guts and stuff and I get all “mom” embarrassed about. I want to freeze time here because we can leave them home by themselves without a babysitter or we can take them with us and know that there will be no tantrums to be had or nap times to rush home to. I want to freeze time here where every night we are home together as a family and it’s not exhausting – it’s all enjoyable – and they are HERE..and not there. I like not having to worry about the there yet. And I like that when I sit down on the couch to rest a moment – that no one will be asking me to get up yet again for a snack.
I will never say that parenting is easy – because that can change moment by moment, hour by hour, year by year. But I will say that parenting right now is beautiful and I’m truly loving every moment of these golden in-between years.
And I worry about my wish to freeze time here, because everything does seem to just keep getting better.