“Today, after an emotional tantrum, my 5-year-old son curled up in my lap and buried his head in the crook of my neck. I felt his body melt into mine. I felt his pain and sadness and all his 5-year-old problems laying over me in a blanket of emotions, and through my sunglasses, I found myself crying too. The feeling of his 65-pound body covering me felt so raw and real. My baby was growing up and I didn’t feel ready.
I swear it was only months ago his tiny bottom fit in the palm of my hand. That very same head rested in that very same crook in my neck at 3 a.m. in a milk coma. Those same feet were covered in feetie pajamas and that same head smelt of lingering baby powder and formula. It was equally sad and amazing that we managed to get to this moment so quickly. I realized time was not slowing down. This would not be the last time I found myself looking back and wondering how such a large chunk of time passed without me even noticing the days slipping away.
Upon us is a milestone his father and I have talked about since he came home wrapped in a homemade blanket and coordinating hat. I remember shortly after his 3rd birthday his cousin was starting Kindergarten. ‘Two more years,’ I told my husband. We both marveled at how fast the previous three had gone by. Yet I am still taken aback at how quickly we got here. The time has come, and this giant milestone is upon us, like a freight train fast approaching. In one weeks’ time I will put my pride and joy on a giant school bus and watch as it drives away without me. I have spent the last five years holding on so tight. Now in just one swift moment, I will be forced to let go. Against even my best efforts, I’m struggling to find the strength for this.
I know I am not the first Mom to lie in bed and calculate this moment. I am not the first to stare at his newly picked out first day of school outfit and wonder if it is just not good enough. I am not the first to find myself hiding my tears because it somehow got so late so soon. I am not the first to wonder if all the years will pass this quickly. The first to wonder if I have taught him what he needs to be successful. What if he can’t make friends? What if he falls on the playground and no one is there to help him up? What if he doesn’t understand how to buy lunch or gets lost trying to find the restrooms down the hall?
Seven days just does not seem like enough time. I want to stay wrapped in the days of summer and sunshine and laughter and deny that my baby is growing up. Deny that I can no longer provide him with absolutely everything he needs. Deny that it is really time for him to spread his wings and… fly.
In just one short week, I will loosen the white-knuckle grip on my son’s childhood and let him go. In one week, his world will get bigger, without me. But today, I will let him stay tucked into me and cherish these moments with my not so little baby.”
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