Remember when your birthday was your favorite day of the year? You looked forward to it all year around. You wanted to be older. You wanted to be bigger. You just wanted.
Today is SJ’s birthday. My youngest son is now 8-years old. He’s thrilled.
I was talking to a friend of mine recently. He and his wife have triplets. Their children are in 11th grade. Anyway, we were walking along, and I didn’t notice his children. Part of his response was, “Don’t worry. Some day you’ll be able to walk away or go out and not have to worry about your children.”
“I’m not in a rush,” I said.
In fact, I’m going to miss seven.
At seven, SJ was in first grade. At seven, SJ became a Kindleaholic. At seven, SJ told me about the first girl he liked. I can’t go into details because I promised him I wouldn’t.
A couple of days ago SJ and I were having a conversation.
I said, “Soon, you’re going to lose something, and it’s going to be gone forever.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s going to be in your rear view mirror. (had to explained what I meant be rear view mirror). And it’s never ever going to come back. No matter how much you try or how much you may want it.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You have no idea what I’m talking about do you?”
“Just Tell Me!!”
“Seven, SJ. Seven is almost gone. You’ll never be seven again. That’s it. Don’t you think that’s kind of sad?”
“No. I want to get a bigger.”
“I don’t know.”
But I know. He’s normal. He’s like every other kid. And in this case, that’s good.
Me, I’m not in a rush. Sometimes, when we are together at the kitchen table, I look at him when he is not looking back. I stare at his face and wonder and know. I see him getting older. I see him graduating elementary school, dancing at his Bar Mitzvah, borrowing the car keys, heading off to college, and walking down the aisle.
This vision brings me warmth. My boy is going to have a good life. He will be happy. He’ll have friends. He’ll have a family. He’ll find success in his life.
This vision brings me sadness. I miss one, two, three, four, five, six, and now seven. As our youngest when he completes something, be it potty training, kindergarten, or his multiplication tables, our family finishes it. We have passed that stage.
The other day we traveled to the Philadelphia suburbs to spend time with my mother and other family members including an elderly aunt who is not doing well. While we were driving, we saw a train. Correction. I saw a train. I pointed it out to Ms. MMK. She shook her head in that, “That’s nice dear sort of way.” I was ready to alert the boys. But I stopped myself. They wouldn’t care. Yet at one point, seeing a train was a spectacle. They would stare at the train as it went by and then crane their heads to see it for as long as possible.
As the train went one way and my family went the other, I got to wondering. What do you READERS still hold on to though your children have outgrown that stage? Do you still look for sales on baby food though your kids don’t eat it? Do you break into the Little Einsteins every time you have to countdown though your kids no longer admit they ever even watched the show? Do you still check out picture books – Goodnight Moon – though your kids are reading on their own?
Yeah, I know, I know, I’m feeling sentimental. This quote from J.D. Salinger’s Cather In the Rye, as said by Holden Caufield sums it up, “Certain things, they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone.”
I don’t want SJ to stay as he is. I love seeing him grow and accomplish. But sometimes and in some ways, I miss my little boys.
P.S. Today would have been my father’s 83rd birthday. He died the day after his 65th birthday.
My son LOVED Thomas and now the mere mention of the name is enough to get an eye roll and a sigh. “I am not a baby dad.”
Sometimes I miss watching him play with it. He would get lost for hours and never need anyone else. Loved to play with others, but was content if we was alone with Thomas.
Time goes too quickly.
SJ was the same when it came to Thomas and reacts similarly now. He wants to sell the trains. He’s a fine little capitalist!
I’m still a bit of a child myself – 15 in September – but sometimes I do think my parents miss the younger years. Personally, I never really enjoyed being a kid, but it seems I’m in the minority there. Many of my friends miss the times when they were too innocent (ignorant?) to be happy and not know any better.
Thanks for commenting. I checked out your site. Good luck with your book.
I can’t speak for your parents but I know I don’t want to hold my children back. I’m sure I’ll love and enjoy them at every age. Of course, our relationship will change as their needs will be different.
I bet there are days when your parents wish they were children without responsibilities. That’s normal.
The other day I saw an ad on TV for Thomas the Tank Engine, and I was instantly taken back to when my boys were young. They both collected those trains, and the memory walloped me so hard. It’s sad sometimes to think we can never get those moments back, so I continue to remind myself to make new moments with them now. Of course, as teenagers, they don’t always want those moments…
My younger boy was also crazy for Thomas. When he went cold turkey with Thomas, it was a shock.
Making new moments now, as you say, is so important even if they don’t seek them out.
I do miss how our kids used to say certain words. Caleb used to say “squirlo,” “girlo,” and “worlo” for squirrel, girl, and world. Now he has that “rl” sound down and it’s sort of sad.
At the time, did you think it was cute or did you worry? I bet it was at least little worrisome. Now, that it’s past, all you remember is the cute. Either way, I know what you mean.
Believe it or not, I don’t have children – but I DO remember seven… and I too miss seven. NOW… I didn’t miss seven when I was 8, 9, 10… but now I do… it was good back then. 🙂
Being a child certainly had its benefits – that’s for sure!
Babies belong behind glass, where they can stay little!
We all have to grow up some time.
it was just yesterday that my son fit in my arms and I would rock him and his head and feet weren’t past my elbows. Now, he’s almost a foot taller than me. He’s looking at college options. He grabs and keys and says “I’ll be right back” when I expect him to be watching Bob The Builder and SpongeBob. 🙂
First off – Happy Birthday, SJ!!! 8 is a great year!!
Secondly – I find myself still wanting to wander through the toy section despite the fact that I have 2 teenagers. I still think a great movie night is the latest Disney flick even though they’d rather see the latest Marvel release.
Many of my friends have children under the age of 10. It’s interesting when we have our yearly get-to-togethers because they often forget how much older my children are than theirs. They get a quick reminder when they see that Rian is 5’10” and Alexi’s not far behind.
Since I have a boy and a girl there are things I experience with one that I don’t with the other (puberty was an interesting time with my son since I have no idea what it was like to be a 13-year-old boy). But I know I have cherished every first – first step, first word, first day of school, first date. I know it won’t be long and they’ll both be living independent lives. And as much I miss 1, 2, 10, 12 I am focusing on enjoying what’s left of 16 and 14.
Thanks for sharing your perspective as a parents of teens
Where does the time go?
Good post, I feel like by age seven I’ll be a wreck. I think the thing I miss the most about my children’s first year is the naps we used to take together. Nowadays it’s few and far between that we gather up on the couch and take a nap together.
Thanks for sharing this, I really enjoyed it!
You’ll be fine. You’ll grow as your child does.
So glad you liked it!
P.S. My eight-year old and I still take naps together sometimes.