I Didn’t Know – So Hard to Watch Them Grow

This morning N wanted to watch a video (a video of himself) on my phone. He doesn’t usually watch the older ones, but this morning he chose the oldest. It was recorded a year and a half or so ago. We watched it together and laughed at how cute and sweet his baby voice sounded. He was maybe two and a half years old. He was singing happy birthday and other silly songs. He was talking about my growing belly and what it was going to be like to have a sister. He looked so much smaller to me, so much more like a baby. I didn’t realize just how much he’d grown. Just how different he’d become. It caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting to react to it the way that I did. But, his voice was just too precious. It brought tears to my eyes immediately. I smiled over at him, tucked snuggly under my arm, and we giggled and laughed about “silly Mommy and her happy tears.” Later though, after I dropped him off at pre-school, I watched it again by myself and I cried a little more. Maybe it IS silly. But, for a moment I let myself miss that little guy. I allowed my heart to hurt. It’s just amazing to me … how much he grew in a single year … how different he sounded. How different he is. I don’t want to be sad. This is a GOOD thing. This is the BEST problem to have. My children are growing. I’m not crying over any tragedy or loss. It’s all good. Yet, every now and then, I let myself grieve the passing of time. I let myself FEEL it. It does hurt. It does. I have a wonderful boy and a wonderful girl. They are healthy.  I love watching N grow and become who he’s going to be. I love it. I love who he is today. Yet, I just didn’t know it would be so painful. I didn’t know how I would mourn each stage once it passed. I watch A now and try to memorize each little piece of her. I know how quickly it goes. How fast it’s moving. I want her to be my baby. I’m grasping for her to stay little. I’m no fool. I know exactly what happens when you hold too tightly to something. It slips right through your fingers. I want them to grow, of course. Of course. I just didn’t know. I just wasn’t prepared. I didn’t know that I’d yearn for them, my babies. That I’d miss their littleness, even as they are still right by my side. That I’d miss two-year-old N and 3-year-old N and 6-month-old A. My memory isn’t the best. I have trouble holding on to all the details. I just can’t keep them all or remember it all. It grows fuzzy way too fast and I’m left feeling helpless. I didn’t realize, I didn’t know, that with motherhood would come the strangest combination of wholeness and brokenness. I had no idea it was possible to feel, simultaneously, complete joy and the crush of a broken heart. I wasn’t prepared for the fact that watching my babies grow would fill me with pride and wonder… and agony. I didn’t know that I marvel at the child they were becoming while still longing for my chubby-handed baby. I didn’t know that I would feel so much all of the time. All. The. Time. I feel so much. It’s like I’ve been stripped raw. They say that once you have a child, it feels like your heart is separate from your body … that your heart is out there, walking around in this big ‘ole world. And, I find that statement to be completely true. My heart grew, with each baby, so full and tender that there are days when I worry it will burst wide open. It’s full of love, joy, peace, happiness, tenderness, fear, worry, pain. There are days when I’ve never felt more, or less, like myself. It’s the most puzzling of mysteries. The heart of a momma.

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