It's that time of year. The time when you hear things like, "I can't believe my baby graduated from preschool/middle school/high school/college" or "I can't believe my baby is going to HS next year" and "Time goes so fast". We hear it a lot right now. And it is often followed up with "It breaks my heart!" and "How did this happen?" Sometimes there are even tears. Not all the time, but occasionally. I never know what to say to these people. Why? Because I don't get it. I don't get why mamas (I rarely hear a dad say these things, so for the purpose of this writing, I will use moms) are sad that our kids are growing up. I absolutely love watching my kids grow older and taking on new challenges and becoming their own people. I am thrilled to see my oldest start high school next year. He is excited and I can't imagine not being excited for him. I can't imagine my heart breaking that each year he, and my other children, are doing what we do - evolving through time, learning and experiencing new things, experimenting with who we are and what we want to be. It's an ongoing process for all of us - babies/toddlers, adolescents/teens, young adults and even us full grown adults. And it makes me happy to watch and be a part of it all. The "my heart is breaking" thing? I.don't.get.it. My nephew went off to college out of state a couple of years ago. I asked my SIL if she cried. She said something along the lines of "How could I be sad? He was so excited all I could do was be excited for him." THAT I get.
And before you call me a cold hearted bitch, I get that time goes by, often very quickly. Sometimes it goes so fast I lose track of it. Like the other day at the doctor's office when I told him my middle son had strep throat a month ago. They looked in his file and it was actually three months ago. Oops, time got away from me. But there are times when it goes really.really.slow. For me it all adds up to time is moving along at just the speed it was meant to move. When I look at the big picture, I realize time is doing what it was meant to do - giving us the space we need to evolve, to learn and experience new things, to experiment with who we are and who we want to be and then move on to the next step and do it all again. It's just the right amount of time and at the right pace.
I do get sentimental. I do look at pictures or have a memory and think "Look how cute he was as a baby!" or "Oh my, that was so much fun." But the entire time I have been a parent when people have asked me "What's your favorite age?" my response has been "The age they are now." I meant it and continue to mean it. (Except maybe for age three. Three makes the terrible twos look like a cake walk.) There were so many cute, fun, loving, fulfilling, adorable, memorable times with my kids and there continue to be, even with the moody teenager. Times I wouldn't change or give up for anything, but I don't want to go back. I like moving forward.
So for all those mamas out there who will spend the next few days/weeks lamenting over their children growing older, I will try to be sensitive. If you know me well though, you know sometimes I struggle with that, but I promise I will try.