Time slapped me in the face today. Surprise! Your baby is a kindergartner, it chided.
More than five and a half years ago I held a new little baby in my arms. I was in awe with him, and as a new mother couldn't believe this little person was mine to take care of forever. He learned to walk around 10 months, and has never stopped since.
At age 3, he got a John Deere Gator and learned how to maneuver the cul-de-sac better than I can in the minivan. Last year at age 4, he rode a two-wheeler perfectly only minutes after we took the training wheels off (we never even held the seat). Now that baby of mine is officially a 'big boy' -- he started his school career today a kindergartner at Thornwilde Elementary School. It's PM kindergarten, and he must have asked me 20 times all morning, "when can I go to school, mom?!"
I stood there taking pictures of him in his new classroom (before he basically shoved me out the door) and couldn't believe how fast this time has gone by. I saw a few other mothers with their cameras too - we were all snapping pictures of our babies before they walked through the doors. Maybe hoping the click would stop or slow time a bit. One last shot of this memory, of my little guy, who still doesn't mind holding my hand in public... who still wants a Transformers band-aid when he skins his knee, or cries for my help when he gets a splinter in his foot. One last glimpse of this boy who won't go to bed without a night light on and either mommy or daddy reading him Chicka Chicka Boom Boom or a tale about Babar the Elephant.
Every place we go, no matter if I have just Brayden or all four kids with me, onlookers and passers by warn me, "enjoy this time, it goes by fast!" ... those words sink in today. I know I can't stop time with the click of my camera. I know I need to heed these warnings a little better. I'm realizing that I don't play in the sandbox with the kids when I send them outside, and I don't really swing on the swings once I send them down to the swingset, and I only hurriedly get out the play-doh for them when they ask for it. I can't remember the last time I brought markers out because I fear them on my walls or carpet. I've been bad about reading the kids books too (something I did religiously with Brayden as a toddler) because I feel busy and tired all the time. And sadly, Brayden isn't really allowed to play with Legos that much because I know what a pain it is around the little ones and not to mention the cleanup would be a pain!
But I'm seeing that I need to listen to those little old ladies who tell me to 'delight in them every day' -- they speak from experience. It will only be a matter of time before I'm that little old lady wondering how my babies grew up in a blink.
So today, after watching my baby literally grow up before my eyes with this huge milestone, I'm promising myself to NOT grow up for a while.. to build more sandcastles, get the markers out and color a silly picture and sit outside on a picnic blanket under a tree and read to them -- even if the kids aren't listening.
I'm going to get out the Legos and let that kindergartner make a big damn mess. I just hope someone takes a picture of it so I can remember how happy I was about the cleanup.