My oldest "baby" is 16. Yes, 16. This has led to some recent musing, chiefly - damn I'm getting old. I cannot believe the sweet little baby boy is now almost a man. Each day that passes, I think it tears my heart out a little more. If this is parenting, I want to resign. It hurts my heart to think that he won't be "mine" too much longer.
When you have children, most of us play the "I can't wait game". You know it...I can't wait til they sleep, I can't wait til they hold their own bottle, I can't wait til they walk, I can't wait til they start school. You get the point. Then, one day, it happens. They've done all those things you couldn't wait for and you would do anything in your power to turn back the clock. Its all very "Cats in the Cradle".
This has all been driven home by the fact that we have a new baby. We are trying to appreciate each stage she's in and not be in a rush for her to move on to the next stage. When Igor (my son) and Drama Queen (my older daughter) start asking me questions about themselves as a baby (usually in relation to something Baby has achieved) I realize I can't answer. I don't remember when you got your first tooth. I don't remember when you held your own bottle. Sure, I remember the milestones (for the most part) of crawling, sitting walking. There's some hope for me that I'm not a totally terrible mother.
I chose to believe part of this is due to the fact that I raised both those kids. Even when I was married to their father, he was not around. You know the type - they think their job is complete once the sperm has successfully inseminated the egg. We were busy. There was soccer, band, dance, homework, etc.
Now I look at my son and I wonder - why didn't I take the time to appreciate this magnificent little being when I had him? Why is it that I can only fully appreciate the time lost when he no longer needs me? I adore my son. I totally think he's the best thing ever. He makes me laugh and I am incredibly proud of him. I can't take all the credit because part of it is who he is, but he is a GREAT person. The kid has never been in trouble - NEVER. When i think back to all the gray hairs I gave my parents at his age, I realize how lucky I am. He has one of the softest hearts of anyone you will ever meet.
That's not to say that life hasn't had its ups and downs. He's, how to put this, handy. And along with that, thinks he knows how to do everything. There was one memorable day about 6 or 7 years back when I came home to find my phone lines cut because he was trying to splice a phone in his room (which has no phone jack) into the main phone lines. I can laugh now but let me tell you - I was wicked pissed at the time! There have been holes dug in my yard, holes drilled in my house, and numerous things taken apart all in his quest to find out how it works and can he fix it. Just picture Tim Taylor from Tool Time meeting the creepy kid from Toy Story and you will have some idea....Scary though, right?
There have been times that my garage has looked like Fred Sanford's junkyard. I like to hum the theme to him - Bwam Bwam Bwam wam (you get the point) - to which he looks at me blankly but I get a laugh. He has boxes of parts to things. I mean this literally - BOXES. He will go out and about and come home with a lawnmower, a weedeater, snowblowers, leaf blowers, and one time a chain saw that people have thrown out in the hopes that he can "fix" it. Inevitably, the experiment fails and the item get stripped for spare parts. Spare parts for what, I have no freaking clue!
Being a single mom, I also had to be responsible for all the "talks". Both the older kidlets went to Catholic School until 3 years ago and so, Sex Ed wasn't taught. I remember coming to work the day after explaining how it all worked to him and telling my coworkers how I sat him down and explained the mechanics. I had asked him if he understood and when he said no (I think no in the hopes I'd just get him a book and stop talking) I pulled out the dry erase board and drew pictures. They asked me at work if I was trying to scar him for life. When he started dating, I had to take the "talk" to a new level and remind him of sexual responsibility. He look horrified when I told him that just because masturbation feels good doesn't mean you are ready for sex.
You might be wondering - what in the hell is the point of all her aimless rambling? Well, my baby needs me again. He blew out his knee recently for the 3rd time and is facing surgery to repair it. I get to treat him like my little boy. Maybe if I ask real nice, he'll even sit on my lap (this you would have to know us to picture but I'm 5'1.5" and he's 6' so its a pretty funny image). The time flies - make sure you take the time to TRULY appreciate all the quirks about your children. After all, they are only ours for a short short time.
P.S. On a funny note, Baby managed to somehow finagle some items (items I needed, mind you) into the cup holder of her stroller on Friday. She's such a little thief!
P.S.S. Ok I admit it, I stashed them in the cup holder but I'm practicing my "the Baby did it" defense for when I get arrested.