“They grow up so fast!”
“Enjoy them while you can!”
“Don’t blink! They’ll be grown!”
I remember almost rolling my eyes when I’d hear this from so many well-meaning people as I strolled along with baby in tow. They would lean in, ooohhhh and ahhhh, then lay those lines on me.
Then … it happened!
There I was, in the middle of enjoying sleeping babies laying on my chest, little fingers clinging tightly to mine as I rocked and cradled them in my arms. That quickly turned into playing patty-cake and chasing toddlers around as they giggled and squealed with excitement. Then I blinked, and my oldest was a junior in high school going to her first prom, while my “baby” was in third grade doing hard math problems and projects for school!
I was not prepared for this! I thought the age difference between them would protect me from the shock of my babies growing up.
I had my first daughter at the age of 25. Several years passed, and I went through a divorce. I got remarried, but then I had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, resulting in my chances being cut in half of ever having another baby. My hopes and dreams came crashing down on the day they wheeled me in for emergency surgery. They said it wasn’t a viable pregnancy, since it was in my fallopian tube. There was no saving the tube, either, since it had ruptured. And so I mourned the loss of my child and my chances of ever cradling another baby of my own in my arms.
After many months, a lot of painful treatments, and millions of prayers flooding Heaven’s gates on their way to God’s ears, He gave me my heart’s desire. He answered my prayer! I was pregnant with my little miracle baby. She honestly is, without a doubt, a gift from God above. I remember reaching an all-time low in the bathroom of the hospital after one of my many treatments and just begging God to give me my heart’s desire … just one more little baby … just one more … and He answered that prayer! My miracle baby came into this world when I was 33 years old.
Those times seem so long ago, though, now that my daughters are 17 and 9 years old. Oh my! Where HAS the time gone?
As you can imagine, I get a lot of comments from people when they realize the 8-year age difference between my children. Some try to make a joke, asking if I had forgotten what caused that, not realizing that it could be a very sensitive topic due to what I’ve been through. Yet, I still just smile and hold my children so very close to my heart. I always will.
They did depend on me for everything, and I liked it that way. I enjoyed being there for them and doing things for them. Then one day they did not need me to help them quite as much anymore. They could do it themselves and would tell you with such pride and confidence in their voices when they would say those words:
“I can do it myself, mama.”
I’ll never forget when it really, truly hit me. I guess I’m lucky my older daughter didn’t officially begin to pull away from me until her freshman year in high school. She asked me to walk her in for her first day of school, and I was ever so happy to oblige!
Then it happened.
We walked into the school, and all of her friends came rushing by. I paused for a moment to speak to another mother, and before I even realized what happened, my daughter had walked off. I thought for a moment I had lost her in the crowd of people, but no. I spotted her, calling out after her, and she turned around with the most embarrassed look on her face as she sighed heavily and then turned quickly to walk away.
I remember standing there in the hallway, feeling a lump in my throat but not fully believing what had just taken place. I made my way to my car and the tears rushed down. I could not hold them back any longer. I will never, ever forget the way I felt at that moment in time. My daughter later apologized to me, but there it was … the moment I had to face reality.
My baby … did not need me … anymore.
It is times like this that I am SO very thankful that my children ARE eight years apart! One baby doesn’t need me anymore, but the other most certainly does. My younger daughter still wants me to play with her as she runs around being Merrida from Brave, or shooting her bow and arrow like she’s Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. Oh yes, she wants me to play with her, to run with her, to go on field trips with her class! She isn’t embarrassed by my presence! And so I go, I run, I play, I do … I fly high with my youngest daughter as she giggles and laughs … and I enjoy every single minute of it!
Fast forward two years from the freshman first-day-of-school incident, and my older daughter no longer seems THAT embarrassed by me. Sometimes she will even say that I’m cool and that her friends even think I’m one of the coolest moms they’ve ever met.
A cool mom!
Even though they are years apart, it still seems like they grew up so fast … in the blink of an eye! One is almost an adult now, while the other will be turning ten soon. It truly did go way too fast for my liking! I’m trying not to have anxiety over the fact that we’re looking at colleges for my older daughter. At the same time, I’m facing the reality that my “baby” isn’t a baby any longer. I am enjoying the last little bit of her wanting to cuddle with me because I know that very soon she will not want to do that any longer.
Even with the age difference, it all seems to have happened in the blink of an eye!
On days like today, I pause to consider what all of these people said to me early on when I cradled my baby in my arms … and you know what? They were right!
In the blink of an eye, my babies have grown up to be strong, independent, confident, Christ-loving young women.
And then I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I have done a good job raising them! God gets all of the praise, glory, and honor … because He gave me my little miracles from above!
Thank you, God. Thank you!