From tot to almost teen: My child's childhood is almost over – and I'm not ready 2 months ago

From tot to almost teen: My child's childhood is almost over – and I'm not ready

It all happened so fast.

One moment, she was two or three, and running around wearing tutus or tights with colourful hearts on them every day – her face so tiny and her hand so little in mine as we walked to the park or the playground or just over to our local shop to get groceries.

She fit so perfectly on my lap – even long after she was four and five and six, and now a little girl in big school. She would still crawl into my bed at night, her little body curved right up into mine, her little fists wrapped tightly around my hand, her now somehow slightly longer legs octopussing their way under my pillow or across my body as I lay still, trying to sleep, but also trying to remember everything about this moment.

 

Se dette innlegget på Instagram

 

Et innlegg delt av Trine Jensen-Burke ? (@trine_jensen_burke)

The days are long, but the years are short. I didn't get it at first, it sure didn't feel like it so much when you are knee-deep in nappies and leaky boobs and tiny pieces of Lego everywhere.

But suddenly she was seven, then eight, and then nine. I started to feel scared. In another nine years, I counted, she would be 18. It would be all over – my baby was halfway to adult – already. How did this happen? How did all those Mondays and Tuesdays and school days and summer days run by so quickly? How could nine years have passed – and for it to feel like it was only just yesterday we brought her home from the hospital, so little and precious and new.

 

Se dette innlegget på Instagram

 

Et innlegg delt av Trine Jensen-Burke ? (@trine_jensen_burke)

Advertisement

I would look at pictures on my phone or in Facebook memories and marvel at times' ability to go by so quickly. Birthday candles blown out, summer holidays, scraped knees, tooth gaps, stick-on glitter tattoos, school bags, Barbie houses, Christmas mornings, hikes, trips, memories. So many, but not enough.

I panicked. Had I soaked it all up enough? Had I marvelled at her little-ness as much as I should have? Had I lifted her up and carried her enough while I still was able to? Put down what I was doing and got on the floor to play silly games? Had I missed anything? I started longing for a pause button. I just need more time.

Now she is 12. She is amazing. I marvel every day at the young lady she is slowly becoming – and yet also find myself grieving the little girl she no longer is. Can you feel both, I ask my fellow mum friends? Can you feel both so deliriously happy and proud over your 12-year-old – but also sad over the fact that her little girl years are behind us?

 

Se dette innlegget på Instagram

 

Et innlegg delt av Trine Jensen-Burke ? (@trine_jensen_burke)

For the longest time, I wished for a third baby – part of me still does. But it was not in the cards. I do think though that part of me wanted another baby just for more time. More baby time. More little child time. But maybe what I really wanted wasn't so much another baby, but rather more time with the babies I already had?

Will it always be like this, I wonder – is part of motherhood always wishing you had more time with your children when they were children? Will it always feel like time is moving too fast?

Maybe this is motherhood at its core? The bittersweet feeling of loving the phase they are at now – yet also longing for what was. The feeling of marvel and pride as you watch them grow and learn and develop and slowly, but surely become who they are meant to be – yet also feel a deep sense of grief over how fast it all went by?

 

Se dette innlegget på Instagram

 

Et innlegg delt av Trine Jensen-Burke ? (@trine_jensen_burke)

As parents, especially when our babies are small, we long for and celebrate all the 'firsts.' First word, first crawl, first walk. Then later, first tooth that falls out, first day of school, first time they go on a playdate without you there, first sleepovers. So many firsts.

The thing about 'lasts' is that we don't really know when they are happening. Not until they are over. One day you will pick up your child and carry them, not knowing that it will be the very last time you carry them around. You will lie down and read them to sleep, maybe not realising it is the last time you will read them to sleep. And the same goes for tying their shoelaces, washing their hair, cutting up their food, helping them get dressed. The 'lasts' sneak up on you, and you never really realise until they have come and gone.

When your child is little and you feel exhausted, it can sometimes feel like childhood is a neverending phase of their life. But before you can blink, years will roll by, and you will not fully understand just how it happened. Just how all these days, sometimes long and really, really exhausting, suddenly turned into years that raced by. It feels unbelievable – and much too fast.

But such is life – and parenting. So I guess let's just all get better at soaking it all up – the good, the crazy, the tiresome, the messy, the beautiful. Childhood is so short – so let's just lean back and marvel at it.

And yes, the baby years are so lovely and the little kid years too – but let's remember – there is so much beauty ahead too – and watching them turn into amazing people as they grow, well, it might just be all worth it.