I love how affectionate my children are. Little M just gave me one of his trademark bear hugs, a lengthy, tight squeeze that brings on the warm and fuzzies every time. Totally the best feeling ever.
But I can’t help but wonder…. What on earth will I do when my kids no longer want to hug me???
How will I bear it when I can no longer simply outstretch my arms, anytime I want, and wait for the nearest little person to come barreling across the room to wrap their own miniature arms around my waist?
As annoying as these toddler years can be –the crying at bath time, tantrums at dinnertime, breaking up fights, preventing them from accidentally killing themselves, praying for their bedtime– I’m still pretty bummed that they won’t just stay little forever.
Parents of older children love touting the expression “little kids, little problems- big kids, big problems”. While obnoxious to hear on a regular basis from the seasoned pros, there’s likely some truth to the expression. A lot of truth, actually.
For example, while I must keep at least one eye glued to my two-year-old at all times to ensure that she doesn’t climb up a wall, reach for the knife rack, and then walk around holding one by its blade (true story), at least it is guaranteed that I won’t be too far away to ensure she doesn’t stab her brother for stealing her juice.
Now fast forward 16 or 17 years. No longer will I ALWAYS be less than two feet away to help her avoid making disastrous mistakes. I won’t be able to turn down a date with the wrong kind of guy for her, and I won’t be there to yank the car keys from her hand before she steps behind the wheel after having her first drink. I already hyperventilate thinking about that happening, and she hasn’t even had a sip of soda yet.
It’s just that right now my kids look up to me, and I don’t want that to stop. Right now, every knee scrape, every broken toy, every bad dream is very easily mended with a kiss and a cuddle from mama. But how will I feel the day I pose the question “all better?” and am stung by a negative response? What’s mama cuddles to do then?
What if I go and do something completely psychotic like try to have another baby or something?
I already find myself lamenting over how tiny they are in their precious baby pictures. I can’t help but wonder if I might one day successfully locate a giant pause button that will freeze their childhood for a little while. I just need to soak up all that angelic innocence now before I blink and they’re moody, miserable teenagers who curse the ground I walk on.
At the same time, though, I’m also excited to see what amazing adults they will grow into. I know they will make me so proud someday and I look forward to basking in the glow of their success. I’m also pretty psyched to sleep past 7:30a.m. once in a while too. Oh, the paradoxes of parenthood.
I suppose there’s comfort in knowing that they will always be my babies, whether they are actual babies or not.
Now excuse me now while I go hug my little boy for the twentieth time today.