The kids are getting older. (I’m getting older. According to Little Brother, I’m only 7 1/2 short years away from “old.”) And while I’ve never really been the nostalgic or sentimental type–leaving that job to my husband, who’s way better at that kind of stuff than I am–nostalgia has been creeping up on me lately, whether I want it around or not.
Little Brother will turn 10 this March. By then, Big Brother will be 20 and Middle Sister 16.
My kids are growing up on me, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.
Really, I love being a parent of older kids. They’re toilet-trained, literate, and can make their own toast. 2 out of 3 of them don’t need a babysitter anymore. I love watching my kids try something new, work hard at it, pick themselves up when they fall on their faces, and succeed in amazing ways. I endured their toddler years to get to this point.
But I’m not ready to give up all of it. I’m glad that Little Brother is still excited that St. Nicholas would leave some treats in his shoe last night. He was thrilled to receive a ticket to “Lunch with Santa” from a dear friend. He’s worrying that Santa won’t be able to get down our chimney (maybe I shouldn’t have let him listen to a certain rather macabre holiday tune). I’m not ready for the time when someone has to burst his bubble.
Again and again I am reminded that my kids are kids for a limited time only. If I’m not careful I will turn into one of those “older people” who smiles at the moms struggling with toddler meltdowns in the middle of ShopRite and says, “Before you know it, they will be all grown up. Enjoy this!” (I really hated those people, by the way.)
I had to request Big Brother’s medical records from the pediatrician. He’s too old for examining rooms that feature Scooby-Doo and Disney princesses. We’ve been with this same pediatrician’s office for almost 20 years–all of Big Brother’s life–and we’ve only got 10 years more to go with them.
I am 2/3 finished with this portion of our program, folks. In 10 years, Little Brother will be off to college and done with the pediatrician–though with luck, he’ll still have a soft spot in his heart for Scooby-Doo. 10 years is not that long.
These are the years in which I finish making the switch from “hands-on” parenting to “step away from the helicopter” parenting. I have to deliberately hold back, let them make mistakes, offer (unwanted) advice, drive them places, shell out cash, drive them other places, refuse to let them go to some places, and have a hot meal ready for them when they’re ready for the hot meal.
In return, I get to see them make the honor roll (2 of them), win awards for hard work at soccer (2 of them), competently and confidently pull off complicated Propsmistress tasks, rehearse for musicals, and score interviews for paid summer internships. (That interview is today. Prayers would be appreciated.) All that has happened in the past 3 weeks.
Those have been good weeks.
Here’s to the next 10 years.