“don’t grow up”

My oldest child is almost 5.

5 years ago she was born, 5 years ago, I held her for the first time.  5 years have gone by so very quickly.

I hear thoughts similar to mine, words echoing how quickly the time flies, but they are usually laced with longing, sadness, grief.  Tears for the baby who is growing up.

“don’t grow up”

“they are only little for such a small while”

“enjoy every moment”

“you never know when you hold them the last time, that it was the last time”

“put pennies in a jar for each day you have with them as children”

I resonate with those ideas NOT AT ALL.

Now, I haven’t slept in about 5 years, so my opinions are, of course, flawed, biased, and so on.  I also say this acknowledging that of course getting older has bit of sadness, I think that’s only natural.

That being said, I hope to raise my children without holding onto this idea that I miss who they were and that I don’t want them to change.  I hope to use my words to tell them what amazing people they are, not how much I miss who they were.  I don’t want to make my children feel guilty for getting bigger.  I don’t want to personally feel guilty that my children are growing bigger.  That sounds terrible to me.

I want my feelings of excitement and gratitude for the present moment to hold more weight than my thoughts of the past.

I don’t want to spend the little time I have on this Earth always looking back and wishing I had done more, done less, done differently.

I agree that the last 5 years have flown by.  They have gone by so quickly.  There are moments I cherish more than others.  There are days that I would love to relive forever. It was incredible to hold her and rock her to sleep.  It was exciting to hold her hand as she learned to walk.

Those moments were great, but I don’t ever want her to believe that those were the only moments I should cherish.  I don’t want her to think for a single second that I loved her more when she was a baby.  I won’t tell her things to make her feel like being small is better than who she is becoming. What message does it send our kids when we tell them not to grow up? What are we teaching them when our phrases about children center on messages about wishing they could be small forever?

I get to keep watching her move forward.  I love watching her master new skills.  She is learning to ride a bike, she writes songs, she loves with her whole heart and I get to watch it all. Someday she will learn to read, then before I know it she will drive, then she will move out, and I’m sure it will seem like the blink of an eye.

She is almost 5, and then she will be 6, and 7, and 8.  It’s the way of things.  I won’t hold so tightly to the past that I can’t keep up with the future. I won’t hold her back from running towards her dreams.  Right now, in this moment, this year, this season of her life- it’s enough.  It’s where she’s meant to be, and I intend to cherish that with joy.  I will leave behind any grief that I lost who she was and look into her eyes to see who she is.

5 thoughts on ““don’t grow up”

  1. This is beautiful. Great perspective. I keep thinking the same things. I have struggled with all the sadness people instill in those very phrases you listed. I’ve heard them all, too, and am similarly determined to not let it get the better of me and take a different road. As a photographer, my approach is to take as many pictures as I can because a picture is the only thing I know of that can freeze any moment in time forever. So if I want to go back and reminisce, I can, and I love the ability to do so.

    I have to say, having my 2nd child has really helped me enjoy it that much more. I have had so much less anxiety and I have relaxed more this time around, but at each stage I’m soaking it all up. Even on the most challenging days, I look at my 3 year old and my 6 month old and realize I’m content to be right where I am right now.

    Cheers to mommyhood and to a beautiful life. 🙂

  2. Goodness gracious, I miss you Rachel. I wish we lived in the same city and could be mom friends together. I learn so much from reading your posts, and agree with them SO MUCH. Thanks for sharing your mom-wisdom. This mom is paying attention.

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