Thursday, May 15, 2014

On Mourning the Loss of "Littles"

Tomorrow is the last day of school. Field day!

Carson Claire and Cole Patrick are 8 & 9 years old, respectively.

One more day before I have a 4th and a 5th grader. Cole is almost to double digits.

They just completed their first youth triathlon!

Y'all - I have a confession. You know how the first day of kindergarten is full of tearful mommas? 

I didn't cry when my kids went to school, I celebrated. Not because I wanted to be rid of them...but because I was so proud. One of Cole's first ambitions as a 2 year old was to ride the school bus and learn about space... He couldn't wait to go. When he did go, Sister cried for weeks because she couldn't go to kindergarten with Bubba. I wasn't sad when they had their first lost tooth, their first sleepover, first sleep away camp, nothing. I have always been excited and happy they are growing and learning. 


Until now. It has arrived. I am losing my babies. I am mourning the loss of "littles" ... Because instead of having their firsts, we have moved on to lasts. The last baby tooth, the last CYCLE camp for up-to-3rd graders. The last day of 3rd and 4th grade.

Do not misunderstand, I am not sad they are growing and learning. I love that they are so entertaining and self-sufficient and full of interesting facts. I love that they are who they are and very different from each other and from their parents. I am proud they have become respectful and well adjusted kind young humans. They are helpful and can be left alone for a half hour while I go for a run and I don't worry too terribly about them speeding their big kid 2 wheelers down the evil knievel inspired hills in my neighborhood. ( I can tell them "hey, I should be there by 3:30 but don't panic if I am not because I have a hearing at 2 and it might run long." And they get it... We can watch non-cartoon "new classic" movies together (The Goonies, Big, Ghostbusters, My Girl, etc.) and they enjoy them. They can swim in the deep end of the pool without me having a panic attack. They get my corny jokes. They make up their own. 

Oh, and we can ride bikes and run together. 

All of these things are celebrated and appreciated. I love who my kids have become. I don't want to turn back the clock and make them little. (Though a pause button just every now and then would be ok...)

But, I'm still sad and I can't shake it. I guess this last bit of "growing up" has been pretty obvious and I am hyper aware of the loss of the "little kids"... Maybe it's because they are close in age and I feel like they were both little and now they both aren't. Maybe it is because I may never have another little. Maybe it's because, sometimes, in the middle of a quiet night, I will be startled awake and hold my breath thinking to myself "is one of the babies awake?" And then I remember, they aren't babies. They aren't in cribs. They can get out of bed whenever and come down the stairs and get me. But they never do. Maybe...maybe I miss that "heavy baby" feeling when a feverish infant or toddler held on your lap or chest finally surrenders to sleep after fighting valiantly for hours. 

Maybe it's because my littles had a single momma for most of their "little" years, and I wonder what it would be like to parent a new little with the love of my life. (For the record: He parents the Cs now with me (and their dad) and has for the last almost-3 years...and for that I am terribly grateful.)

Maybe it's because if I have big kids, I'm older, too, and closer to the reality of true middle age...

Whatever the reason(s), I have felt the tug of missing the littles my Kiddies used to be. But, I wouldn't change a thing. I wouldn't go back. I wouldn't do any little thing even a little different. I love how we are now. I love the dynamics of my family. We are full of love and pride. <3