The moment is fleeting

When you have very small children you imagine they will always be very young children.  You can’t imagine them walking, talking, growing.

You can try to look into the future and wonder how things will be when they are grown.

You wonder how they will be.

And you always imagine you’ll be there, with them, no matter what.

The picture below was taken in 2003.  Harry was probably about six months old.  Ben was ten, Stephanie was nine and Caitlin had just turned four.

They are happy, smiling, young.  They all needed me.
I don’t think I stopped for the moment back then.
I took for granted that life would never change. 
That they’d never grow.
I forgot that they would.
The family has changed a lot in the last picture.
The baby in the last picture is the biggest boy in the next one. 
He’s growing… fast. 
His younger brothers who didn’t even exist are all growing… fast. 

With every new thing they learn, and every new skill they develop I watch them as they get older before my eyes.

It makes me proud when they finally grasp something they’ve been struggling with. Whether it’s crawling or walking or reading or getting through that test they’ve been dreading.

But with each new development and with each new achievement is the realisation that they’re getting bigger.  And older.  And more independent.
And they won’t need me like they once did. 
And even though I know that as their mum, that is my job.  My purpose is to teach them the skills they’ll need in life.  It’s to help them become independent adults who will one day become productive members of society with good morals and great character.  
I know that.
And it’s a good thing.
So tell me, why does it make me so sad that the younger ones won’t need me then like they do now?
The first picture has changed a lot.  My oldest two children aren’t at home.  They’re in another county and I don’t have a clue what they’re doing or how they are most of the time.  I talk with my daughter and my son sometimes texts and that is it.  
They’re busy living their lives and finding their feet and working out who they are independent of us.
That is how it is meant to be.
I know that is how it’s meant to be.
I should be happy that I’ve done my part.  I can’t do any more than hope that I did a good enough job with raising them and that I’ve given them the skills and morals they’ll need to get through life because the baton has been handed over.  
Much as I would love them to need me now, I know that my role now is to watch them and encourage them from afar and give them the space they need to work out what being an independent adult is really about.  I would do them no favours otherwise.
But I miss the days when they were small and needed me. 
They went so fast.

And going through it twice already hasn’t prepared me any better for going through it again, and again….
They’ll always be our babies but our children aren’t children for long.
It’s fleeting.
Cherish it. 

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3 thoughts on “The moment is fleeting

  1. So very true – my eldest son will confirm just how hard I'm finding it to accept that he's grown up, left home and become independent – I need the contact, he doesn't really, and he gets quite cross as me for "treating him like a 3 year old" when nagging him and hassling him and "helping" him to get on with his life – he really doesn't need me though, as for goodness' sakes, he's moving into his new flat today, having his furniture delivered and working out how to get Visas sorted so that his American girlfriend can move over to live with him!! Oh, and he's just quit Uni again, set up his own company, got an accountant and business plans!! I'm redundant, but proud we got him to that stage – and know that we'll have to go through it all again sooner or later, then again, then again … but they're still my babies!

  2. My oldest is 14 and just a month ago we were talking about how different things are, no more buckling in babies, no more diaper bags and we are able to date again. that was until 2 more blessings entered our lives. I would not change it for the world though. I look at my now teen and then at our one year old and think where did the time go. I love every minute and every stage of it

  3. Amen to all of the above, even now I have the bittersweet feeling that comes as I let go of my second in line as well. I really already have in so many ways but he will be married a week from tomorrow. Everything is changing rapidly as my first five are so close together. I try to not dwell too much on what is sad and focus on always moving and changing and embracing what is. My bottom five are all girls and they don't like the change at all, they may hold on tighter than Mom :). Thanks for your sweet post, it's timely for me!

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