As parents we are all guilty of saying, “Stop growing. You are my baby” or using the hashtag #timeslowdown. And I get it. I am right there with you. I seem to have blinked my eyes and my precious baby boy is turning four. FOUR! I just know that I am going to wake up and it will be his college graduation. Someone pass me a Xanax.
But I have to be honest here, I love the fact that he is growing up. I love the little person he is becoming. I also love that I do not have to chase and wrestle two naked bottoms with diapers. Putting a diaper on Manning was like wrestling a tiny lizard coated in oil and his sister seems to be taking after him.
Over this past year, I officially packed up his little smocked jon jons and other signature southern baby items. It was bittersweet, but when I see him running in jeans and a belt my heart soars. He is growing fast before my eyes.
Unlike many parents, I do not wish for time to stand still. I have felt what life is like when time does stands still. When all you want is for the clock on the wall to tick forward. It’s the worst feeling. But that experience has made me appreciate time, especially the present.
I love that time moves. I love that I have two babies to move with the clock. I love watching Manning’s brain soak up every sensation and piece of information around him. I love seeing how he processes questions and moreover, I love to hear how he answers. Did you know there is a store that sells fingers? Apparently, Wal-Mart does NOT sell everything.
So yes, I get it, my baby is growing fast, but I am okay with it. I encourage it. There is nothing better than seeing your child flourish and grow – and also stumble. While it would be hard for Manning to fail finger painting, I know there will be a time when he struggles. That time is coming soon and I am ready to embrace it.
I don’t think there are many prerequisites to being a good parent. In fact, there is just one: love your child, love them so much it hurts. I have loved my precious Manning before he was even placed in my arms. Some of my fondest memories are from pregnancy. Every night at 3am he would get the hiccups. I laid on my side, hugging my belly and relishing in the sensation that my son was alive and safe within my amazing body.
I am far from a perfect parent, but I am a good one, no, a great parent. I love my children ferociously. I want to see them grow and spread their wings. I want to see what God has in store for them for I know it is extraordinary.
Four years ago my heart was stolen by a tiny blue-eyed Hurricane with a big, squishy heart of gold. To my precious Manning, you are my unsung hero and you make me prouder than I can ever say. I can’t wait to see what this year has waiting for you…the fun we will have and the things we will learn-together. You taught me how to be a mom and you are still my greatest teacher. We walk this path together.
My heart explodes with pride at every milestone you reach, but moreover with the person you are becoming. Your golden heart and soft spirit will take you far. Keep being kind to others (and please share with your sister! I know it’s hard.)
It is bittersweet to watch you grow, but I am so thankful for every minute we have together as ordinary as they seem. From playing fireman (and woman) to swinging at the park, I love our simple memories. They are best for they are the ones that leave the biggest imprint on my heart.
I love you always. I love you more than you’ll ever know. Moon and back. And back again.
Always and forever,