Tag Archives: kids grow up too fast

Letting go: when a spoon is not just a spoon

I was rinsing dishes recently and came upon this Babar spoon. I can’t even remember where we got it but we’ve had it since Jacob was a baby. He’s now 13.

Look at it.

Letting go mourning kids growing up

Poor Babar is still wearing his green suit, but his trunk has been amputated and he’s lost part of one floppy ear. The paint is chipped and the spoon is too short and bulky for big boys’ hands to eat anything except maybe ice cream.  Eli (7) still uses it, but my older boys (10 and 13) wouldn’t be caught dead slurping cereal with our old friend Babar.

I should probably throw him away.

But every time I ponder it, I feel a pang of sadness. So instead I gingerly hand wash and dry him, and place him carefully back in the drawer.

Letting go of Babar is a symbol that that phase of my children’s lives is over. Plastic cups with adorable characters like Babar, Mickey Mouse, and Dora have been replaced by ugly big gulp mugs emblazoned with sports teams, and grown up glasses.

Seeing Babar’s little yellow crown reminds me of the hundreds of times I made goofy faces and noises to coax just one more bite of Yo Baby yogurt into my boys’ mouths as they squealed in the high chair.

kids grow up too fast

I don’t have anyone to feed anymore.

kids grow up too fst

In many ways, that’s good.  It’s a relief not to have to do everything for my kids now. It’s independence….it’s growth. There are many gratifying benefits to the boys getting older.  I have amazing, mature conversations with them about current events, people, feelings, philosophy, as I watch them evolve into young men with their own interests and opinions.

I can drop Jacob off in town to eat dinner with friends and go to a movie I’d rather not see.  Curious 10-year-old Aden reads books about weird and wacky animals on his own.  Even 7-year-old Eli can tie his shoes and get dressed in the morning (ok, it takes him 35 minutes but it’s still progress!)

kids growing up too fast

It’s all exciting and wonderful and I’m grateful for the privilege to watch them grow.

But sometimes, when I look at Babar… or the Pokemon cards no one will ever pick up again…or the extra-large fire engine puzzle collecting dust….or the scores of stuffed animals that rarely get attention, it makes me a tiny bit wistful.

Like Babar– king of the elephants– I hope to never forget what it felt like to be the mommy of little boys. Maybe the key is not to be attached to objects, but only to memories.

That sounds nice. But Babar still has his spot in the silverware drawer.

Wilson’s not sentimental so that spoon will probably get thrown away at some point. I’m sure I’ll be fine when he’s gone, but I won’t be the one to toss him.

Last Day of School Blues

Today’s the last day of school for my kids. As they bust down the double doors  with glee, I’m feeling wistful that another school year is done.

This morning I shuttled between schools bearing teacher gifts and receiving report cards, feeling sad and anxious. I always get this way in June. Change is difficult and moving on means leaving people and places behind.

Two years ago I wrote a column about it for maplewoodpatch.com and although my kids are older now, the sentiment remains the same.  You can read it here.

The good news is although he’s headed for 4th grade next year, Aden still holds my hand once in a while and we read together most nights. Eli finished kindergarten today and is not looking back.  I’m trying not to focus on the fact that I’ll never have a child in kindergarten again, and instead take pride in all they’ve accomplished.

Maybe today when the last one gets home and dumps his filthy knapsack on my kitchen floor, I won’t think about them growing up too fast. Instead I’ll focus on not having to get up early and pack lunch tomorrow, or the next day after that. I’ll smile about not having to prod them to do homework or go to sleep early. I’ll revel in the next few days when we have no plans and can just hang around.

When you  look at the old column, notice the final, touching comment at the end from a mother who’s seen her share of last days.  It reminded me that the age of your kids doesn’t matter as long as you still feel close to them. And hopefully, they’ll continue to make you proud.