Purposeful Parent Tip: Children grow up so fast. Treasure each moment.
It snuck up on me and I didn’t even see it coming. Like many of you who try to pay attention to the subtle changes in your child’s development, I too do my best to keep my ears and eyes open. But I was completely caught off guard on this one.
My children have called me lots of things throughout their lives. I remember hearing both of my children say “Ma” as one of their first words. I say “one of” because my son’s first word was not that treasured “title” but the name of a beautiful little blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl named “Annie” from his daycare class. While all the other moms basked in their child spitting out “Ma”, I had to live with “Ahh..neee”.
Thanks honey. I can see where your loyalties are. Luckily my daughter redeemed her brother by speaking my name first. During their early toddler years, I got very used to being called “Mama” which I thought was odd since most kids call their mom “Mommy.” I really liked it though as it had a bit of ‘old-school’ attached to it and it also reminded me of my own mother, born in South Carolina, calling her mother by the same name.
Along the way, “Mama” would sometimes turn into “Mommy” or plain ol’ “MA!” when things didn’t quite go their way. Recently, however, I’m noticing a new change to my title. Instead of the aforementioned names, I’ve now become “Mom”. “Mom, what’s for dinner?” “Mom, can I have a sleepover?” “No, Mom. I don’t have homework.” (Yeah right!)
When did this happen? And more importantly, how? What did I do to deserve this promotion, if in fact it is one. When I hear the word “Mommy” I think of warm, fuzzy blankets and cuddles. “Mom” has a whole other connotation…one of being serious and more “grown up.”
I guess it had to happen. My children are now 11 and 14. At some point a mother moves from the nurturing, cuddly, safe haven to more of an advisor or coach. My conversations with my children now revolve around schoolwork, activities, and chores. So very different than a few years ago when all that was on their minds was what movie we were going to watch on our beloved Friday pizza nights.
We’re all told to enjoy our children because they grow up so fast. This is true. Everything is “so fast” these days – not just our children’s growth. Each week that passes, I struggle to remember what the previous one looked like. While I journal about my children all the time so that I don’t lose the memory, this does nothing to slow down their development into young adults. And this makes me sad.
Sad for the days of holding my babies in my arms for hours without them squirming or saying “Let go, Mommy.” Sad for the days of watching them sleep in their cribs looking like little angels. Sad for the days of them running up to me when I would pick them up from daycare and tem folding into me like a warm blanket.
But just as you can’t keep a caterpillar from blossoming into its destiny as a beautiful butterfly, neither can you stop your children from growing up. I will always treasure those early days but I also will treasure this time as well watching them become all they can be in spite of my feeble attempts at parenting them.
I can’t stop time nor turn back the clock, but every now and then, I get lucky. Once in a great while, I get a glimpse of those early years. Every now and then, I return to a simpler time.
At the end of a long day when all is quiet and the kids are in bed, I’ll hear “Goodnight Mommy.” And all is well with the world once again.