It Is True…They Do Grow Up
Two things happened today that confirmed all of the rumors I heard stating that in parenthood, the days are long and the years are short…and that they do, in fact, grow up.
My nephew turned five today. A fact that may or may not cue a mental “…awwww…” on your end. And for our family it is awwww-worthy for sure…but it’s also more than that.
Five years ago at this time I was trying to figure out a way NOT to leave my sister’s hospital room because this – giving birth to a tiny human – was by far the coolest thing she had ever done. (Way cooler than hiding a tattoo on her foot from my parents for basically ever, until I blew her cover.) And I also just wanted to make sure she was okay and had eaten and all of the things her husband was more than capable of doing but…ya know…I am her big sister…so I couldn’t help myself.
This was also before I had my own daughter and 4 months before I got pregnant, so I had zero point of reference for the amount of love that you can feel when holding the next generation of your family for the first time. And then my sister handed my nephew to me…
That face…and that smell…man…it was awesome.
…And then a couple weeks later, although it was still awesome, reality set it. I had the good fortune of being able to take a few days off from work when my sister’s husband went back to work, so I got to see first hand how long those days really are – which was the universe’s way of conditioning me for when I had my own child. I laugh every time I think of how my sister and I decided it was a great idea to bring a two-week-old to the Apple store so I could compare and contrast the offerings in different Apple laptops and then buy one.
I got the laptop, but I can not say it was the smoothest shopping experience I’ve ever had.
Then a few months later I found out I was pregnant (and my sister did too – again – which is an truly fascinating story for a different blog) and after my daughter was born, person after person would tell me with a wistful sadness, “Enjoy it…it goes by so quickly Cara.”
Which was sweet. It really was.
But while they were saying this, I would usually be thinking something along the lines of, “Really…I am just finding a place to breastfeed/pump/change a diaper and the days are sort of feeling like a million years long right about now…so…thanks but I am just trying to get more than 2 hours of solid sleep…nothing about this is going by fast.”
And fast forward to today, when I dropped my daughter off at preK (the same preK my niece and nephew attend) and my sister told me to go check out what my nephew was wearing and that he picked his outfit out himself.
I walked into the classroom to see him wearing a clip on tie, a button down shirt and a cute pair of jeans and he said, “Hey CiCi! It’s my birthday!” and my eyes welled up with tears (which perplexed the poor kid). For the life of me, I can not tell you where the hell the last five years went. I honestly felt like I was just two weeks ago that I was rushing to the hospital to meet the little man.
I brushed off my nostalgia and then came home and started editing some video for a client and when I opened up the application on my computer I saw the last clip I had imported – which was video of my own daughter (now almost 4) learning how to walk. I watched the 6 minute clip about 10 times. She was about 11-months-old, super chubby and so damn cute. Her only words were, “this” and “that.” We had just moved into our new apartment in Upper Manhattan and I was still extremely stressed managing a lot of life’s complications. I wasn’t focusing on how fast or slow time was going by…I was just trying to get by. But despite all of that, watching that video made me want to go back to that moment to talk to the me then, and tell me, “Hey…stop the noise in your head for about ten minutes, and enjoy this. I know it seems impossible, but you won’t get these moments back, so soak it in.”
And when I saw my daughter, niece and nephew this evening after school I wanted to freeze time. Like seriously freeze it. Not let them grow up anymore. Force them stay young enough to be truly innocent (but old enough to use indoor plumbing without incident).
When I saw my nephew dressed like a college co-ed this morning I was reminded that they won’t be completely running our lives forever…there are a limited amount of bleary-eyed way too early weekend wake ups…they won’t always shout, “Hey Mom! Look!” when they do something they are proud of and they will actually develop lives of their own.
I’ll never get those first steps back…can’t go back and relive them no matter how hard I wish that I could. But I can try extremely hard to enjoy the present stage and fully soak it in…because no matter what I do…the reality is what everyone told me is true…it does go by so quickly.
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