It’s strange, I’ve been a mother for almost four years, in June. And I’ve never really felt like this before.
But I think I’m scared of my children growing up.
And maybe scared is the wrong word. At least, I’m not scared for them, I’m scared for me. And it seems like such a selfish thing to say, because they have their whole lives ahead of them, and their lives will definitely move away from the days where their silly, old mum is their best friend.
I have started to notice how grown-up my son really is these days. And some of my friends, family and even those who read my blog or watch my videos have noticed it too.
I think the anticipation and arrival of his newborn sister is teaching me that time goes very fast. And I don’t know why I’ve never noticed that before. I have thoroughly welcomed and adored every stage of my son’s life. While some times have been harder than others (the early months of three I’m looking at you), I’ve found a lot of joy in all of them.
I loved the sleepy newborn cuddles, the downy baby hair on his head, the way he smelt. The way he needed me. The way he lay on my chest.
I enjoyed the delight with every milestone. The joy on his face when he first sat up unaided. Or commando-crawled towards me. Or the first steps he took where his face lit-up with a mixture of joy and terror as he wobbled on shaky, pink baby feet. The first words and sentences. The way he picks up the lyrics of songs just like I do. The way that walk turned to a run. The climbing. The adventures. The sheer ability of my monkey child.
And now I have a son who cares about me. He rescued me when I fell. For the first time in his life he chose to help his mum. He put me first. And the love he had for me knocked me flying harder than any fall ever could. Because I felt so proud to have this little person who, in his own way, had my back too.
Now, if I sigh, without even saying a word, my little boy will pipe up suddenly: “What’s wrong Mama? Are you okay? You know you can tell me anything?” A sigh. That’s all it takes for him to think: “Hang on, maybe my mum needs me?” I hear my own voice in his. And I hear the genuine concern.
And I don’t know if I’m ready for this, as much as I love this new stage too. Because Bill, I will always need you. Just as much, if not more than you need me.
He was with his dad on Wednesday night. And I walked upstairs to bed. And reached the top and came face-to-face with my son’s bedroom door. It was closed. And normally he’d be sleeping right behind it. All sweaty and flushed as he always is. And looking beautiful.
I wondered when he’d tell me to stop checking on him before I went to bed. I wondered when would be the last time he’d need help getting dressed. Or opening a packet. Or washing his hair.
And I lay on his bed, facing upwards, looking round, and seeing what he must see every night before he goes to bed. Trying my best not to cry – though it gets me every time because I can’t explain how much I miss his company. The glow of his bubble lights that match his bedding. Or the way the little birds I strung from the ceiling slowly rotated with the warmth of the room. His books filling his bookcase. All bright, mostly animal-themed, with big pictures and few words. The way his stuffed, toy animals tumbled from their storage bag. And his favourite pieces of artwork stuck to the walls.
My little boy’s childhood bedroom. The place I feel closest to him when he’s not here.
A room that, in time, will change over the years. The animal theme will surely go. The clothes will get bigger and fill his wardrobe, top-to-bottom. The books relocated to his sister’s room. The duvet cover something more ‘grown-up’.
I don’t want him to grow-up just yet. I feel very sad at the years that I didn’t quite make the most of with my son. Back to work when he was tiny. Missed opportunities. And school in September.
I know we have many more years ahead of us. At least I hope that we do. And I hope that he will always tell me I’m his best friend, and that I’m “the best Mama in the whole wide world.”
I don’t want to lose this. I’m scared that we will. That he might never remember the times that I will never forget.