Conversations with My 6 Year Old About Growing Up

There are so many children’s books out there in the world; some are strange, many are funny, but only one has had the power to move me to tears. That book is called “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch.

To be honest though, the first time I read it, I thought the author was a little nuts. Let me tell you why. In a nutshell (pun intended, haha), the book follows the journey of a mother and her baby from the time he is born until he is a father himself. Every evening the mother rocks her son to sleep and sings a sweet song that goes:

“I’ll love you forever,

I’ll like you for always.

As long as I’m living

my baby you’ll be.”

And when I say she does this every evening, I mean every evening. Even when her son is a 6 foot tall, hairy man living across town, she drives over to his house in the middle of the night. She takes the super long ladder she strapped to the roof of her car and climbs up to his bedroom on the second floor, makes sure he is fully asleep, and takes him in her (very strong) arms and rocks him to this song.

LoveYouForever2

Yup. The counselor part of me totally had a field day psychoanalyzing this scene. 😉 My initial thoughts were: This mom is so codependent, overly attached and unable to let go of her kid. Where are her boundaries?!

It was about nine years ago when I first saw this book at the library. Since then, every time I see it on a shelf, I bypass it because of its “dysfunctional” message. But recently, I finally understood what the author was saying (and now know that he was not nuts when he wrote the book). 🙂

The other day C and I were talking about her upcoming trip to the dentist to have 2 (stubborn) baby teeth pulled. I attempted to allay her fears by going over the procedure and answering her questions. The conversation was going well, and she was staying calm and looking thoughtful when she said something that made my heart drop.

C: “You can stay outside.”

Me: “What?”

C: “You can stay outside. You don’t have to come with me.”

It took a minute for me to register that C was saying she didn’t want me to go into the dentist’s office with her during the procedure. I was supposed to stay outside in the waiting room.

Me: “Are you sure?”

C: “Yes. Stay outside.”

Me: “Aw, my baby’s growing up!”

C: “Mo-om!”

Me: “NOOOOOOO! Okay, I’ll wait outside.”

And that’s when the story of “Love You Forever” came to mind. Because with every ounce of blood pumping in me, as long as I’m living, my babies will always be my babies. I may not be as crazy (or brave) as the mom in the book to break into my kids’ homes when they’re adults and rock them to sleep, but it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to. (Actually, hubby would probably beat me to it!) But in my heart of hearts, I will always remember E and C as the cute, chunky babies who challenged and inspired me, and ultimately, grew me into the mom I am today.

So, yes, sweet daughter, I know you (and your brother) are growing up and don’t need me as much as before. I just need a little while to catch up to this new reality, so be patient with me. But I (and your Baba) would really appreciate it if you could do us a favor and choose a one story house when you grow up. 😉

Here’s a link to where you can hear “Love You Forever” read to you and view the illustrations as well. (Get the tissues out!)

And we’ll end with Mariah Carey’s song, “Always Be My Baby”. 🙂

When did you realize you (or your kids) were growing up?

My One New Year’s Resolution

Happy new year, everyone!

Isn’t it crazy how quickly 365 days flew by? I seriously feel like I just closed my eyes for a moment and time traveled to 2015.

Blink.

Just like that.

I think the older we get, the faster time passes. Don’t you agree? And the faster that time passes, the more I wonder what I did with it. With the hours I was given last year. The minutes I spent last month. And the seconds I used up last week.

All this wondering led up to the question I asked hubby yesterday, “Is the whole point of life for us to grow up?”

He turned to me from the driver’s seat with a smile/smirk of amusement and replied, “I thought we were done with these questions.”

Ah, but that was before the new year began and before I pondered about what it was that I did with my life in 2014.

Hubby tells me that he usually sees an increase in the number of people working out at the gym during the first 2-3 months of the year. I can imagine these are people who started their new year with 2 “R” words – and they are definitely not rest and relaxation. I’m talking about regret and resolution. Regret over the things they didn’t do or wish they had done before and the resolution to do those things now.

I used to make new year’s resolutions … until I realized I was setting myself up to fail. Life is a continuous journey, not one that can be rebooted year after year with new plans and goals. Sometimes goals can be obtained within a set period of time, but more often than not, our plans get sidelined by bumps and cracks in the road. There’s only so much we can plan for and control; the rest of the time is spent learning to get up and try again.

Which is why I had that mid-life/existential crisis question on my mind as I started the new year.

As I look back on the last year, I am extremely thankful for all the moments God gave me. 2014 was an adventurous year for me and the family. We went through yet another one of hubby’s job changes (he loves change!) and a career shift for me as I added “author” and “small business owner” to my SAHM title. These changes were not without their trying moments however. There were plenty of times when I wanted to quit and throw in the towel/manuscript. There are still many moments when I stare at the 25 boxes of Moodkins (24.5 of which are still full) sitting in our living room and wonder if I’ll ever see the fireplace again in my lifetime. Though I am grateful for these opportunities that God brought me last year, I admit I am a bit tired and bruised from the potholes I fell into and had to get out of in the process.

But all that falling and getting up has given me the answer to my (somewhat rhetorical) question, “Is the whole point of life for us to grow up?”

Yes. Totally, painfully, yes.

My heart knew this to me true when I witnessed our son perform for almost an hour in the choir for his school’s Christmas musical. Not only did he sing, he did every single head tilt, hand motion and foot shuffle. And with a beaming smile, too. Hubby and I looked at each other with saucer-like eyes and whispered, “Who is this kid?!” It was nothing short of a miracle because only three years ago, this was the same kid who sat with his back turned towards the audience during his entire 45 minute preschool graduation. It took a lot of time, support and more time, but E is now confident and comfortable enough to perform in front of hundreds of people. He even told me afterward that he had fun. Yes, I think I just saw a pig fly by my window!

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/freedigitalphotos.net

And my heart knows that God loves us too much to let us stay where we are at. That although life could be a lot easier and more simple if we didn’t have obstacles to overcome, we would have less faith and character. And definitely, fewer victories to celebrate.

So, I’m starting 2015 with perhaps the one resolution that I can keep. Despite the many times I’m sure I’ll struggle with it this year, I know that if I keep getting up when I fall down, I’ll reach the end of this year with no regrets.

What’s the resolution? To keep growing up.

Take a listen to Brian McKnight’s feel-good, inspirational song, “Win”. It’s a good song to listen to for all of you with new year’s resolutions. 😉

What are your new year’s resolutions?