With each passing year, I watch as my children grow and mature. I am amazed and proud at how they demonstrate consideration, maturity, and independence. They are truly fantastic boys.
I still look back nostalgically on those early years of parenting when my babies' needs were endless and I measured my time in feedings and diaper changes. Exhausted, I would complain to my husband about how much easier things would be once our children slept through the night, were potty-trained, or headed off to school.
Joe would gently suggest that I stop wishing away the days, for they would be gone far too fast.
I never believed him.
Yesterday, my older two sons had a baseball game. As I set up my favorite folding chair, I gave my youngest son, Joey, permission to play at the nearby park. The dynamics of Little League have always held me rapt, so I was relieved Joey would be distracted with friends, swings, and monkey bars.
As the game ended, I looked around for "my baby" who was collecting a bouquet of dandelions for Mother's Day. Joey marched towards me, handed over his offerings, and informed me I was the most beautiful woman he had ever met.
That was when reality hit me like a ton of bricks.
My baby is nearly seven. Seven is the age of reason. Seven is when kids commence rolling their eyes, refusing to cuddle, and criticizing their mothers' wardrobe selections. Seven is when a little boy stops believing his mother is, in fact, the most beautiful woman in the entire world.
Most tragic of all? Seven year olds rarely pick their mothers dandelion bouquets.
I forced myself to shake off the sadness. This inevitable evolution of children was beyond my control. I reminded myself there would still be plenty of wonderful mothering moments ahead.
But in my heart, I cherished my bright bunch of crushed weeds just a little bit longer, and held onto them just a little bit tighter.
For these days did go by far too quickly.
No matter how much I wish they hadn't.