Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Unwonted Sentimentality

I swear, he looked JUST LIKE THIS.
You know how you turn around one day and realize that one of your little kids - no, not just one of your little kids, but the really cute smiley one who looked like a teddy bear when he was two, the one who sat on an armchair in the living room and looked at you nursing his new-ish baby sister and asked, "Mommy STILL holding baby?" in a wistful tone of voice...

That kid - that kid is 12.  Actually, he turned 12 over 4 months ago; but I just noticed.  Just noticed there will be no more little boy smiles coming from that direction, no more simple happiness emanating from his corner of the house.  Oh, he's a pleasant enough 12-year-old, Brian is; but he's growing up.  Changes are gonna happen.

And you would think I'd be used to this by now - this letting go of the little boy to welcome the young adult, right?  I mean, he's my 4th kid to reach this milestone, for heaven's sake.  But this one...this one is hitting me hard.  I love his smile.  I dread that the teen years might rob us of that.  I've seen enough teens (mine and those of my friends) not to have any illusions about what may lie ahead.

You know, up to now, all it took were hamburgers and legos to make Brian happy.  Also? Mayonnaise.  He could eat it with a spoon.  Life's been that simple.

NOW who's sounding wistful, eh?  Sheesh, I've got to shake this off.  Remember how, in the old cartoons, there was always a character running off the cliff and it just kept right on running, because he didn't know there was nothing whatsoever really holding him up?  He would never start falling until he looked down.

Well, parenting's like that.  Keep moving and - for heaven's sake - don't look down.

[Teddy bear image: CentralSquareFlorist]
[Wiley E Coyote image: The English Blog]


  1. Oh, I have felt that moment of recognition. For me, it was the first time I walk into their bedrooms to wake them up and discover that there is MAN hair on their legs.

    The good thing is, you have them spread out enough that hopefully the older ones have returned to bringing you joy. This is what comes from having a larger family. You get to see the beginning, the middle, and the end of child raising. There's always a different view.

  2. Ah, for the days when all it took were hamburgers and Legos...
    Happy Birthday to your boy.

  3. You've gone and made me feel wistful this morning.
    My kids mature on the older end of the numbers, but my fourth child, my BABY -- my happy-go-lucky sunshine boy -- just turned 13 last month. Suddenly he is staying up late, sleeping in (he NEVER did that before!) and looking less like a young boy. And while mine never had that sweet teddy bear look, he has always been my sweet, gentle son
    I have to go find a tissue now...

  4. I have to tell you that I am sitting here with tears in my eyes (At work. At my desk) and I am trying not to snivel. My baby - the one who couldn't say "s" (so a spoon was a poon) and who loved trucks and cars (or dados) and used the word albeit correctly when he was 10? He is almost 14 - and such a teenager, that I cannot stand it. I know that this is the goal of parenting - but it seems to have happened so quickly and without a second's peace to savour it. And you know - you never know when something they do or say is the last time, so you can tuck it away to remember. Sigh

    1. Okay, so maybe we can meet up and be maudlin together. Sometimes I torture myself by picturing exactly what each kid looked like at 2 years of age. I just can't help it.

  5. Wait. This is the goal of parenting? Son of a bitch!

  6. I never imagined Wile E. Coyote could be used as a metaphor for parenting, but it's a good one. You are absolutely right. From now on I will never look down.

  7. He has to grow up so he can get married and give you grandkids---that's the way I think to survive the whole thing.