I heard the boys playing downstairs the other day, as I lay in bed, waking up on a Saturday morning. And it really came home to me more than ever. The times I’ll hear them both playing as kids, as they were, are becoming fewer and fewer. doing
Parents I’ve known over the years, those who have had children, seen them grow up and move away, say the same thing over and over again. Cherish that time you have with your kids when they’re young, because you never get that time again.
I feel that more than ever now. And more than ever, I want to spend more and more time with them. Each moment becomes more precious, because I know they’re on that cusp of becoming more independent.
On vacation last month, there was a kids club that my kids never want to do. They want to spend time with us. But after meeting another boy, my oldest declared he was going to go out that evening on an event.
“Really?” I said, half-jokingly sad but half-serious. “Well, I guess you’re all grown up and don’t need to do things with me any more.”
He, of course, protested that he loved me just as much as ever. But then he later decided he didn’t want to go out. I felt a little bad, but also a little happy, that I was still one of his best friends, in a way. That he did still want to be with me, as he would with a friend.
The other day, walking to the store, I felt his little hand grab for mine. At 12, he still wants to hold my hand, which is sweet. But then ahead, one of his friends came out of a house and said “Hi.” With a jerk, I felt my son throw my hand down, a natural enough reaction for my boy who’s soon to be a teenager.
It was both sweet and sad, at the same time. Another reminder he was growing up, which will bring great new experiences for him and I, but also the old child-like experiences going away.
Having passed his friend gone, my son quickly grabbed my hand again, without prompting, as it nothing had happened. Too often, I’d tease over such things. Instead, I just smiled to myself, happy to have my baby boy for a little bit longer.