“They grow up so fast. It happens in the blink of an eye.”
For years I have heard other, more experienced parents utter these words to me. And while I understood the sentiment and grasped the concept of the years of childhood flying by, there are moments this seems to hit me square in the face. It’s as if the world stops turning for a minute and my breath is taken away by how grown my kids suddenly are.
Lately, my breath is being siphoned from me by my 13-year-old. He is officially taller than me and his feet are bigger than his dad’s. His school work has surpassed my capabilities and he is independent with most tasks. He needs us in a completely different way now. On one hand, I’m loving this person I have in my home and the deep conversations we can have. However, on the other hand, I’m fully aware that his time in our home is dwindling.
In the midst of this man-child developing before my eyes, there’s something surreal happening in my house. You see this 13-year-old boy has a 2-year-old brother who looks and acts exactly like him. Their pictures and personalities are incredibly similar. And this mini-me of his brother can take me back a decade in an instance.
In a moment of hearing my 13-year-old’s voice changing, I hear the toddler squeals that use to come from his mouth.
In a moment of squeezing my toddler’s cubby feet into shoes he constantly throws off, I’m tripping over man-sized soccer cleats.
In a moment of cutting up food on a plastic plate for dinner, I’m also serving a third adult plate in my home.
In a moment of cutting “itchy” tags out of my toddler’s shirts, I’m buying a specific shirt in the men’s department because my teenager prefers the “non-itchy fabric.”
The daily comparisons are so subtle that only a mother’s sensitive spirit would be this attune. The simplest observations could only bring tears to the watchful eye of a mother. It’s as if I have been gifted to journey the toddler and teenage years together with two very similar children. While they are operating in two very different worlds, they are circling each other and don’t even realize it. It’s like going back in time with one, while foreshadowing the things to come with another. And while I recognize that they are their own beings, different in their own ways, their commonalities are eerily alike.
My teenager knows his brother reminds me so much of him, but most of the time, the resemblances are drawn only in my mind. Kept as a quiet, hiding place for me. It is a gift given to me to remember the younger years of my first born. A gift to see firsthand how fast the years go by, before they are gone. A gift to recall when it was just one and now it is many children.
It’s like a constant whisper of… “They grow up so fast. It happens in the blink of an eye.”