Sometimes–but only sometimes–I wish I could freeze time.
Mostly those super-power wishes come when my babies are crossing a threshhold–first smiles and first steps, learning to read and learning to write, beginning pre-school or elementary or middle or (gasp!) high–eras begun or eras left behind…
…the milestones that mark a life.
For a mother, they brand the heart, searing much more than impression. The mother-child bond, impossible ever to severe completely, is stretched at each turn. We know each move towards independence is a move away from us–as it should be. Knowing that doesn’t remove the sting of the bitter in pursuit of the sweet, though, and with each stride toward maturity, we hold collective breath, close our eyes, and push those babies a littler farther from the nest.
My third born…second son…baby, graduated fifth grade last week.
When younger, he was the one I was certain would return to the womb if he could; he had an insistent need to touch me and often. I nick-named him The Kissing Bandit because he stole smooches at will, his mask, a satisfied victor’s grin. His kindergarten teachers called him “Romeo” and “Casanova” because of his genuine charm and sweetness, before he was too young to either know or care about why they chose such odd names.
Sharply contrasted to his big brother–all ego and bravado–he’s unpretentious but proud of his new-found (and much older sounding) distinction as a middle schooler. I can’t help but smile to recall my post-delivery, first sight remembrance: “He’s a SMURF!” I gasped, shocked by his blue coloring. First breath and first cry took care of that, and though he didn’t score a perfect a perfect Apgar, he was perfect to me.
At 11, though he would dare admit it to himself and especially not his siblings or friends, his favorite toys don’t require batteries or electrical outlets and only cost dollars, sometimes less: little rubber bouncy balls and steely magnets. Entertaining him in much the same way a ball of yarn might engage a kitten, these are anytime toys, easily hidden in pocket or palm, ready to pull out at boredom’s invasion.
There’s an easy wonder in his eyes when he’s at play, unaware of the world around him. Cloaked instead in imagination and delight in the ordinary, his countenance reveals what he’s unwilling to say, mischievous eyes radiating sunbeams of delight. I find myself wishing I could channel his thoughts.
Instinct? Experience? tells me this will be the last year he’s a Boy. He’s comfortable in his skin right now–oh, how I hope that doesn’t change! During our annual trip to the beach with family friends, he begged to play at the park, oblivious or indifferent to being the oldest there. With an enviable abandon, he flipped and climbed and slid and conquered that playground, thrilled with is mastery of what used to be so difficult.
I look at him and watch this unaffected child who’s content to build sand castles for hours, attack waves as if he’s at war, and construct 1,000-piece Lego masterpieces until he gets it right. I can’t wait to see his strengths–determination, persistence, progressive thought, patience and kindness–evolve as he grows up.
As he grows up, right before my eyes…
Because I’ve yet to discover how to freeze time.
Stick him in the freezer. It won’t freeze time, but it will freeze him.
Seriously, you are such a talented writer. I think all moms will relate to this one.
Just now back into blogging after a short absence. Ya’ll come see me sometime, you “heer?”
Oh, mom. In the next year or so those clock hands are going to spin faster than you can imagine. Brace yourself. You’re going to turn around and be looking at a man. You will be amazed…and eventually glad you couldn’t freeze him.
There are so many days I wish I could freeze time. My oldest is starting kindergarden this fall. Motherhood is a process of letting go. And its those threshholds times when you are forced to realize this fact. Time does not stand still. Great post.
I found you from Lysa’s site – and I am adding you to my favorites – you are a great writer! I am going to She Speaks this year too – can’t wait!!! See you there.
If you ever do find out, let me know. My oldest is a fifth grader next year, and I just can’t imagine middle school.
Yep. I totally relate.
Came over from Lysa’s blog today for She Speaks. Hope to “meet” you there. Come on over to my “home on the web” and say hey…http://lifefrommylaptop.com/2008/05/29/yes-ill-be-there/
These beautiful memories will remain with you for ever 🙂
I love kids like that. I wonder what mine will end up like… ?
You make me both look forward to the future and at the same time want to, as you put it, freeze time. I usually love to come here and look at your photographs. Some posts need no images. You painted a beautiful picture with words today. 🙂
Swampy, TELL me about trying to get into the blogging thing! Not enough hours in the day when you’re on the road and then some!
Hulagirl, I know what you’re saying is true…I live the paradox of looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time!
Megs, well, now…your comment made my day! Thanks for your words of encouragement and I can tell ya this: “Time flies” will become a reality, not a cliche as your children begin school…it daggum speeds up whether or not you’re ready for it! 🙂
Oh, my WGM…THAT was an interesting threshold, my first beginning MS…now it’s my BABY! You’ll find your way, but I encourage you to continue having a presence on campus as you’re able. So many people check out at MS, but the teachers, and the children NEED parental involvement!!!
Karla, glad to have the company!
Hi Alyssa! Thanks for the invite!
Chris, spoken from someone who “knows” :).
Cheryl, ah…now that’s the mystery, yes?
Robert, funny, I planned on adding pictures to the post, just haven’t gotten around to uploading today. Maybe I won’t now…(haven’t decided 🙂 ).
Oh Gosh – I’m in tears! My oldest is 16 and needs me less and less. (As he should.) Now it is time to send my baby to Kindergarten – it won’t be long until he needs ‘Mommy’ less and less and only calls on ‘Mom’ for advice, favors and money! *wink*
and then there are grandchildren…the time really melts.
This really touched my heart because he sounds so much like my son — who is a kissing man as well. Such a beautiful writer you are!
You sound as if you were blessed with child number three. My oldest is 10 and in fifth grade too. He has grown up so much yet sometimes he is still my little boy snuggling up against me on the lounge 🙂
Your post is really touching. Every word in your post is full of love for your children who are now taking their steps to independence. I am not yet a mother but I understand how you feel; days passing by so fast with your boys growing up fast as well. Yes, indeed, you won’t be able to freeze time but you can definitely make every moment with them fun and happy.