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Growing up

February 27, 2014 - Jennifer Brookens
It's happening, just like everyone said it would...

The other day, I started to lean down to give my daughter a kiss, and realized I didn't need to lean down anymore. Just tipping my head down, and my lips could touch the top of her forehead.

Tonight, I realized the stepstool to the bathroom sink was gone. I had used it to adjust the curtains in my son's room two days before. I hadn't noticed that the stool was missing in two days because my son didn't need the stool to reach the sink anymore.

So this is what's been going on as we all hunker down through this cold brutal winter. Perhaps this is why I'm spending more money than I used to at the grocery store every week (or one of the reasons, at least). The clothes that were still a little big at Christmas now fit, and favorite clothes at the start of the school year are a little too snug or short now. Even if they protest and say it still fits fine.

Perhaps it's also why they don't want or need my help as much as they used to. That bit of freedom I needed and longed for five years ago is now attainable, but a little part of me mourns being the center of their universe.

I remember talking to an acquaintance once about how, "Once the kids get a little older..." how we could do so much more. "Don't wish it away," he warned me. "Never wish away what you have right now." I knew he spoke the truth, but now it really hits me. That little pang I feel when I realize in their world, being able to spend time with friends trumps time with Mom and Dad. Or when they spend hours at a time up in their rooms, and they're not there because they're in trouble for anything. Wasn't this what I couldn't wait for when it seemed I had to constantly fix bottles, change diapers, and play Baby Einstein on repeat?

Do I want to go back to that? Not on your life! But I know we're getting ever closer to that time when they won't want to be seen with me in public - much less give me a hug and kiss goodbye - along with all the other issues the Pandora's box of adolescence will bring.

So tonight, when my son asked me to read his favorite story and wanted to make all the animal sounds, I rolled with it instead of rushing through because I had laundry to put in the dryer and the commercial break was ending. My children are growing up on me, and it's happening as quickly as everyone warned me it would...


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