“Beware, I will be a teenager in just 5 years!”
We were both shocked to hear this. He said it in a very light vein, and laughed aloud at his own joke. But it struck us like a bolt. He was leaving us clues all around. But I had been ignoring them all the while.
But that statement, one day as a warning to his father to stop teasing him for something silly, really stilled us.
My 8 year old son would be a teenager in just 5 years.
There were these times, when I used to beg him to go and have a shower all by himself, because I was either too tired or just wanted peace for those 2 minutes. But now he refuses to let me help him even with the clothes.
He used to drive me crazy with all his questions! It didn’t matter about what. There was always these – why, what, how! I used to give up and say, ‘I don’t know’ just for a minute’s silence. And then one day in sheer desperation I taught him to get his own answers from an Encyclopedia and then eventually taught him how to do a Google search. So, now I just help him with choosing appropriate links and guiding him with his quest for answers.
But I know when the house is quiet, I have nothing to fear, because he is just ‘working’ or ‘reading.’
There were those times, when he used to come running with math and subtraction and spellings. Now he says I will ask your help when I have doubts and even those instances are becoming few and infrequent.
He bravely bid me goodbye when I went away to Brazil for more than a fortnight. He was still only 8 years old. He called me every night with due consideration for the time difference and made sure it was always during the night when I was back in my hotel. All that time I had hoped that he and his father were thinking about me all the time. But later I came to find out, he had not asked much about me at all, except for casual occurrences. A sign that he wants to show he was growing up and speaking to mom was no big deal.
There were those first steps, first teeth, first boo-boo, first days of kindergarten, and grade school. There were a lot of those cherished firsts—some of which I remember, some I have to refer back to my diaries. However, now there are a lot of fresh new things happening at my place.
There have always been these milestones which we try to capture and remember. And then there are these times, when without your knowledge, your kids are starting to be all grown up and acting ready to leave the nest! And it comes as a shock, because you are still reveling in those milestones, imagining them to have happened just yesterday.
When he was one, I wished, he would grow up and get potty trained soon. At two, I wished he would grow up, so that he could start kindergarten. At three, I wished he would grow up sooner and start school. And I wished and wished. But now he is all grown up at 8 years old and I know he will be a teenager before I know it and have his life starting up.
I liked the time when he was still a baby and cuddled. And I liked it when he was silly and a toddler. I liked kindergarten and alphabets and numbers and sticking out the fingers and counting. Now I also like his new found discovery of finding out that he is all grown up too.
I just have to accept that some day he will be assisting me with things. He will be all grown up. And will have a life of his own. He is a individual with a mind and heart of his own. And no longer an entity of myself. Some day, he will go out college and then to work and start a family.
It is all bittersweet. Sometimes I get lost. I do not know if I have my baby or a big kid. Sometimes he gives me reassurances that I would always be his amma, and then it strikes me that he does not want me to feel lost about his growing up. It is cute, at the same time, it is a moment of revelation.
It is a sign that, time happens!
Time happens, way too fast and it is a rush to just be in the moment and enjoy and revel in it. But I am trying because my son—who was born just yesterday—will be a teenager in just 5 years!
How old are your ‘babies?’ How are you handling their growing up and how are they realizing it?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Purnima, our Indian mother writing from Chennai, India. Her contributions to the World Moms Blog can be found here. She also rambles at The Alchemist’s Blog.
Photo credit to the author.