I turned around today and I no longer saw a baby or a toddler or a child. I saw a young man whose voice is changing, who talks of "grown-up" things, who thinks "grown up" thoughts and who acts a little silly, but behaves like a young man.
I turned around today and saw a boy who could not only reach the top of the swingset, but he could lift it up and move it so he could mow the grass. I remember the excitement when he was almost 3 when we put it up and he couldn't wait to swing on the swings and learn to "pump" all by himself. I remember the first time he jumped off the swing and how he hung upsidedown on the bar and then finally learned how to pull himself all across the entire swingset without touching the ground. Today, he touches the top and I don't have to worry about him falling to the ground anymore.
I turned around today and noticed a confidence I never saw in him before. He had a confidence that he could survive on his own if he had to. I saw a young man who can carry a real knife instead of those plastic ones and who can shoot a real gun instead of those pretend rifles. The days of pretend are gone. He lives in reality now and it's not as fun as it used to be....
I turned around today and saw a boy no longer satisfied wearing sweat pants and t-shirts, but wanting blue jeans and name-brand clothes. Not that he needed them, or begged for them, but when he got them, he smiled. He knew they were more expensive than sweat pants, but I wanted him to have them because it made him feel feel like he was growing up.
I turned around today and saw a boy who still hugs his mom, but he no longer sits on my lap, rocks in my arms, or cuddles beside me (okay, he sort of still does). Yet, he never refuses my hugs when he hurts or when he realizes he did something wrong and needs forgiveness. He still cries, but less than he used to and now he cries for very different reasons.
I turned around today and noticed a boy turning into a man and I wonder where the years have gone. They all warned me this would happen. They all told me to cherish every moment of every day. They all said, it goes by too quickly. I believed them and I cherished and loved almost every day, but it still went by too quickly.
Don't turn around one day and have regrets -- have memories and make the most of every day. Good or bad, fun or work, happy or sad....they all matter and they all go by too quickly. He's only 12 1/2, but I can't seem to think of how I could have cherished those years any more than I did or made them not pass by so quickly. I swear he turned from baby to toddler in 10 of those years and after that, they flew by....day after day....night after night....they were too short and then....they were gone.
Written by Camille Cantwell 10/26/2009