I wrote a post on Facebook yesterday, lamenting the fact that one of the theories I'd held fast to throughout my tenure as a parent was breaking down.
I used to believe that there was a little bit of comfort in the fact that we don't really observe our kids growing up, at least not in the "oh my gosh, they are so much older" sense that occurs when we see children who don't live with us after a few weeks or months and they're suddenly so much taller and more mature.
I used to believe it. Clung to it, in fact, because this parenthood gig is essentially a lifelong journey with bitter sweetness.
The days can sometimes drag on for what seems like an eternity, but you blink and inexplicably, that toddler is looking at colleges and you wonder what the hell happened to the linear progression of time.
They were just born yesterday, weren't they?
They grow up, children. Whether we want them to or not, and they opt not to obey our time frames at all.
I used to think that there was at least some small comfort in the fact that we can't really tell how much or how fast it all has happened though, just because of the benefit of proximity. We are with them daily, see them constantly, and that truth makes it virtually impossible to pick up on the subtle changes constantly taking place.
Sure, they get older, but it's just a minuscule amount at a time, virtually impossible to take notice of.
Or at least it was.
Until this past week.
The theory broke down.
It no longer holds any weight, at least not in my house.
For reasons that defy explanation, I can suddenly see my kids aging before my eyes. I don't know if it is the days ticking off the calendar that my oldest child will still be here at home and my need to confront that reality. I don't know if it is the fact that both of my daughters are smack dab in the middle of their growth spurts at the same time. I don't know if it's the ever changing set of gaps in the teeth of my eight year old. I don't know it's the toddler who has seemed instantly to have transformed into a kid in the past handful of days.
I suspect it's likely a combination of all of those things, hitting me at once.
I suspect also that it probably has something to do with my deliberate awareness of it all, those moments as a parent when you just quietly sit and observe who they're rapidly becoming and you wonder how you were ever able to create these people and how they chose you to be their parent and why you are so lucky to have this chance.
Kids. Teaching me I've been so wrong about so much of what I thought I knew, and on a daily basis no less.
I've given up wishing for a pause button because I've had children long enough to know that such a thing doesn't exist. Instead, I'm trying to just live in this moment as much as I can. I know it won't last for long.
I've blinked before.
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