Growing Up

I was sitting up in my living room doing some homework the other night and my son was near playing LEGOS. I allowed him to stay up late because it’s summer vacation, and LEGOS! Besides, I try to find those moments I can have that one-on-one time with each kiddo… Being a single parent, working a full time job, serving in ministry, taking the kids to their, now separate, Tae Kwon Do classes two days out of the week (which equals 4 classes/ 2 hours a day), plus grad school! Life is BUSY! Yet, I try to find individual time throughout each day for at minimum a conversation, and throughout each week, to go somewhere, or do something with each kiddo…

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Anyway, there we were, homework, LEGOS… I stopped and stared at my Angel Baby Boy (I think he secretly loves when I call him that, haha). I think I stared for an uncomfortably long time, for him, because he looked up a couple times, then stopped playing LEGOS. Probably wondering, Should I go to bed now? Did I push my luck staying up this late? Haha, who knows? I’m Mommy, so for me, although I see my kiddos daily, I don’t get the opportunity to really stop and look at them. Busy, remember? Finally, I say, “Your face, it’s not so round anymore. It’s more angular. You’re growing up. You’re becoming a man. Your face – ” Trying to choke back tears. “I want to see!” He jets off to the bathroom! I can wipe the tears from my eyes really quick. He comes back, grinning ear-to-ear! “It really is!” “Yeah son, I didn’t notice before.” “Me neither!” Still grinning – is this ache in my chest ever going to subside? Why is your life flashing before my eyes? “You really are becoming a man. I’m proud of you.” “Thank you!” I see his chest puff up a little. He really is a son a that makes a Mother proud. I maybe said, “Stop growing up!” He maybe laughed at me. Inside I maybe meant it a little bit. Fleeting are the days when I was able to hold him so close, and shield him from everything. Now, my sweet boy is nearly taller than me! Losing his baby face, soon to enter his teens… No more a baby, but my “Angel Baby Boy” always he will be!

IMG_8606Thirteen. There has been an obvious shift since twelve. No more of the childish nonsense she did even the week prior to thirteen. “Mommy, do you want to do a mud mask with me?” That question made me as happy as the first time she asked, “Mommy do you want to play Barbies with me?” For the all milestones we hit with our daughters, this is one that I never thought I would catalogue, and one I am so happy to have shared! The older she becomes, the more our relationship evolves. I love and appreciate the special relationship we share, the fine balance between respect as a Mother/Daughter and friend. No longer am I shielding and protecting, solely – I am leading and guiding. She doesn’t always show it, but she listens and hears me. She sometimes needs to hear what I say from someone else. She sometimes needs to see my interactions with others her age to know that Mommy’s not so bad, haha. (That’s what happens when you are a lot alike.) Her heart is huge, she is caring. She has received messages that tell her otherwise. To build her up, to show her the way, to lead by example, to watch her soar… At thirteen, she decided to stand. For that I am proud. The older they become, the more we have to let go. Letting go is difficult, when we just want to protect, but it’s for their good… When they slip under our care we are there to catch them or pick them up, dust them off, and guide them back to the correct path…

IMG_3530The baby of the whole family, who is fighting for independence, fighting to become not so much the baby at all will be in the double digits soon! I remember what that was like – being the baby girl myself. How I wish to tell her in a way she will understand (because I’m not getting through right now) “You’re only a kid for a short amount of time. You have the rest of your life to be a grown up, and have responsibility. Enjoy being a kid and carefree!” Yes, people think you’re 6 years old… That would probably bother me as well… She’s tiny but a force to be reckoned with! I appreciate her openness and honesty. Like her Mommy, she wears her heart on her sleeve and I hate to see that heart hurting. One day, I saw that heart hurting, and my heart broke! Who hurt my baby girl? The Booker Crew was ready to defend! She had no one with whom to play at recess! Oh this hurt me to my core! I wanted to go to recess everyday and play with her! She’s a shy gal as well… So, we role played, “Hi, can I play with you?” Then, before I knew it, this gal had a ton of friends, and was approaching kids that were alone at recess and inviting them to play! I’d say she’s growing up well, and not just because I’m Mommy…

Everyone has to do it at some point in their life. Me? I choose to stay forever young (in my Rod Stewart voice) at heart anyway. But watching my three blossom and grow into three fabulous beings – well, I stand in awe! When they say something profound, or speak a truth, I find myself asking, Who taught you that? How did you know that? I am even more befuddled, when they giggle and say, You. For all the times I fear that I fail them, I am scared of them losing their way… Watching them grow up is a bittersweet journey, that I couldn’t trade for the world! Since I cannot stop it, can’t I at least ask God to let time slow down? Just a little bit? But, as much as I enjoyed the 2s and 3s, I enjoyed the 7s and 8s, now we enter the teens and tweens, I’m sure this roller coaster I will enjoy as well!

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