My baby just turned three! Can I call him my baby anymore? He says “No!” But do they ever stop being your baby? My oldest turned 16 only days later and in my mind he’s still my baby. I know my son is probably gagging at that thought right now but just hold your horses Caleb, I’m not done yet. I don’t mean a “baby” baby, but I still feel the need to protect him, defend him, take care of him. How do I cut the apron strings a little at a time so there’s not such a painful ripping sound when they finally pack up and move out?
I suppose it has already been happening little by little over the years. Already I see Levi wriggling out of my snuggles and hugs. What three-year-old has time for that? There are “bad guys” to capture, pictures to colour, his tractor to drive. Sending Owen off to Kindergarten this year was a definite snipping of some apron strings. While I put on my brave face and watched him sit down in circle time with his class, he barely had time for a quick glance over his shoulder followed by the courtesy wave that implies, “Yeah yeah Mom. I’ve got this. You can go.”
Of course, there’s Aiden and Drew who have made it abundantly clear they don’t need me to hassle them about remembering their coats as they head out the door or to lick my finger to try to rub the smear of jam off their cheek. Fine. Go ahead and show up at school with jam on your face. Your cheeks will be so cold and red because you didn’t wear a jacket that no one will notice anyway!
And then there’s Caleb. Yesterday he turned 16 and immediately headed to town with Dad to try for his driver’s license. I’ve been helping him study and nagging him in turn to read his driver’s ed book, but I must admit, there was a little part of me that wasn’t even sure I wanted him to pass. It’s just another sure sign that he is growing up and perhaps has relinquished the title of “Mom’s baby.”
Though the apron strings do get cut gradually, it seems to be more of a painful process for the moms then it is for the kids. Which is how it should be. And so I treasure those little moments when Levi finds me and just wants to sit on my lap for a while. I savour the days when Owen has a ‘non kindergarten day’. I relish my nightly quiet time with Drew and Aiden as we snuggle under a blanket on the couch and read Harry Potter together. And I secretly delight in tying my son’s neck tie for him before he heads off for the school dance and openly squeeze him hard when he gives me one of his bear hugs.
I’ll refrain from using the term ‘baby’ when talking about my boys, they are quite obviously growing up. So Caleb, you can breathe easy. I’ll do my best not to embarrass you, but just so you know, you can’t stop me from thinking it!!!