I was having a conversation the other day with a friend of mine; we were discussing birth control, but that somehow led to how fast kids grow these days. Her baby girl just recently turned one and my baby boy (my only child) turned five. We were both discussing about how mom emo we were feeling lately. I told her I thought the 1st birthday and the 5th birthday were the hardest birthdays to swallow in the baby-to-preschool years (obviously I have no experience beyond this stage; maybe birthdays keep getting harder). I’d be lying if I didn’t say this latest birthday was a sucker punch to my gut! I mean…I dreaded this one. I cried about it to my husband several times in the months leading up to it. I even asked my son if he could stop growing and let me smash him back down to age 2; he (not surprisingly) refused! The 5th birthday is hard y’all! It’s a bittersweet milestone. It marks the end of so much and the beginning of more, and bigger, things. Five-year-olds THINK they are super grown up, they WANT to be so big, they ACT like 10 year olds, they SAY things that make you do a double take. I just can’t take it. And the worst part of it all is that they LOOK like big kids. That baby face, those toes, that little voice, those sweet cheeks, and those squishy bellies – all of that is gone. I wish I had known when I was in the midst of those difficult first few years as a mom that I would be longing for them back. I’d even take a redo on a couple of them!
This whole “I hate that he’s grown up so fast” thing has always been a point of contention between my husband and me for the past 4 years. Until this year. Will always used to say things like, “I can’t wait til he gets bigger! He’s going to be so much fun!” or, “He’s more fun and easier to deal with (insert eyeroll) now that he’s older” (insert a second eyeroll), because no mom wants to accept these things. My husband finally figured out that our baby boy is HUGE. Then we thought, “OMG! Should we have another?” We need to figure out our opinions for a safe and successful pregnancy/delivery but maybe we should?! Because 1) obviously Theo is about to pack up and leave for college any day now in our minds. And 2) that’s the whole reason to have a second kid right? (Kidding of course).
This whole 5th birthday depression thing became full blown right around summer camp registrations. I resolved to only signing him up to specialty camps every couple of weeks, before starting my master plan of doing all the things with him this summer because it’s my last summer with my little boy. Next summer he will be going into first grade, and he’ll want to go to all the camps all over the city with his friends and I will never be able to get back the little years! Again, this is all in my head. It could definitely not be true. I know there’re still memories to be made just with the bigger, older version of Theo. But I just wish I had savored the smaller, summertime Theos a little bit more. IF ONLY I HAD KNOWN.
We’re a few weeks into summer, and I can confirm that we have not mastered any of my summer plans yet. Except swimming, lots of popsicles, and late nights. And honestly we may not accomplish anything at all on my summer list, but I am consciously making myself slow down, and reminding myself to just enjoy him and be with him in the moment this summer. Because that too flies by way too fast.