Last night, Lucas climbed into our SUV and into his car seat all by himself for the very first time. When he was done, he proudly proclaimed, "Look Mommy! I climbed into my car seat all by myself, just like a big boy." And though I told Lucas how proud I was of him and reaffirmed his big-boy status, I was sad inside.
I remember when Lucas was just a seedling in my stomach. I remember every detail of the day I found out I was pregnant. I remember telling hubby he was going to be a Daddy and the look on his face as he raced into the bathroom to check the pregnancy test. I remember the weeks of morning sickness. I remember the first time I felt Lucas kick in my belly, and the moment when hubby and I learned he was a boy. I remember looking at my growing tummy with pride and excitement. And I remember every last second of my labor and delivery like it was yesterday. And though I can't wait to see and know the men Lucas and Justin are going to become, there is a large part of me that wants to stop time.
I can't figure out why I don't want things to change. It could be the "mortality" reason: As Lucas and Justin get older so do I, and that means there will come a time when I won't be with my boys anymore. Or maybe it's the "happy" reason: Things are so great now and we are all so happy, I don't want anything to change for fear of what the future might bring. Or it could be the "letting go" reason: As Lucas and Justin get older, they are becoming their own persons, and rightfully so, and won't need Mommy and Daddy as much. And maybe I want to stop time to ensure my children will be safe, as they are now.
Who knows what the real reason is? I suspect at least a few thousand dollars of therapy would get to the truth! But I do know that I have never, ever loved anyone or anything as much as my boys and being a parent. I thought my love for my husband was unbelievable, but the love for a child is all-encompassing and something for which nobody can prepare you. Which is why a story like this is so especially tragic, though one doesn't have to be a parent to appreciate the enormity of it.
Despite the fact I wish time would stand still, I do make sure every day to relish my boys' accomplishments and milestones. I love hearing what Lucas did at school, even though he says the same exact thing every day: "I played, Mommy." And I love watching Justin as he earnestly tries to master sitting up and holding his bottle. But most of all, I love just being with my boys, because it seems that when I worry about what's to come, time flies past me and I miss what is happening now.
I know I can't stop time, so I am bracing myself for the moment when, instead of seeing my children for who they are in the present, I will be reflecting back on who they were and how much they've grown.
No matter how much time goes by and how old your children are, a parent is always a parent. So in that respect, time does stand still. And I guess that's why in a parent's eyes, even grown children will always be "babies."