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Wednesday, September 29

Growing up

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Lately I have been reveling in my daughters’ childhoods. I don’t know what it is, but I’m constantly feeling this overwhelming feeling of gratitude for every minute I have with them. I am loving watching them learn and grow…and there is a lot of learning and growing going on in our home these days. I don’t know why they’ve seemed so cute to me lately. When they talk, play, pretend, sing, smudge chocolate on their faces…it melts my heart.

The other day Anna was sitting at the kitchen table with us. I think we were reading books or something, but I do know we were not eating at the time. I looked up at her while she was chattering away…and her face was covered in chocolate. It was so funny. But it was also so endearing, this little two-year-old just talking away, completely¬†oblivious¬†to the mess that was her face.

I think maybe the strong feelings of “They’re so cute!” may be stemming from the fact that time is really starting to speed up. We all know that the older you get, the faster time flies. When we took the girls to see Toy Story 3 this summer, I was bawling through the last 5 minutes of the movie. You know, the scary mom cry. I just knew that in the blink of an eye, my own children would be heading off to college, leaving behind their own tokens of a beautiful childhood, heading off to create their own lives, and raise their own children. I’m trying with all my might to enjoy every second leading to that time. And I know it will be a beautiful time, a new adventure. I just wish the journey wasn’t so fast.

Knuffle Bunny Free arrived in the mail two days ago. The girls and I were super excited to read of Trixie and Knuffle Bunny’s latest hijinx. We were happily enjoying the story…and then we got to the end. Does Mo Willems know what he’s doing to adults everywhere? It would be mean if it wasn’t so sweet. As we neared the conclusion of the story, I was trying desperately to read with a normal voice, but the scary mom cry got in the way. I finally had to stop and explain to the girls that it was a “Happy Cry.” And THEN there was an epilogue that took everything to a Steel Magnolias level. I could seriously barely get a word out.

The killer part of all this was that Trixie isn’t heading off to college. She’s right around Cate’s age. When the story was done, Anna was upset that Trixie had given Knuffle Bunny away. She couldn’t understand it. And Cate explained to her that it was a good thing. Cate got it. Which just about did me in. Looking at my two girls, I could see right in front me the different stages that they are in and just how fast they are both powering through those stages.

Growing up is bittersweet. Without the bitter, we wouldn’t appreciate the sweet. But I’m still going to focus as much as I can on that sweetness. Especially if it’s smeared all over a cute little face.

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23 Comments »

  1. 1
    Tara

    I know exactly what you mean! Sometimes my 3-year-old will do something that is so grown up, it takes my breath away. I am beyond proud of my kids but, at the same time, I wish they could stay little just a while longer :(

  2. 2
    Malerie

    What a beautiful post. Thanks for the reminder to focus on the sweetness.

  3. 3
    ellie

    My son is 24. I saw Toy Story 3 the weekend it came out, at a birthday party for a 3-year-old. That was June, my son (obviously all grown up) was heading to grad school in August–five states away grad school.

    I wept.

    It’s hard for you all with little ones now…just wait.

    Love keeps growing as they do!

    By the way, my son is doing well at grad school and I miss him like crazy. On the way down to school he stopped to visit his friend’s parents. He hadn’t seen them since his friend’s funeral three summers ago. A very important perspective for me to hold on to…

  4. 4
    Jane Maynard

    love your comments. ellie…very thoughtful, powerful.

  5. 5
    Nina

    Soo what I needed to hear today Jane! I’ve been having one of those weeks, couple weeks actually, where I feel like all I do is yell and yell and send to time out and yell some more. I realized today that I need to just chill out, and your post was a very good starting place to point my brain!

  6. 6
    Jane Maynard

    I’m so happy to hear that the post was helpful, nina. all that you’re experiencing is just some of that bitter that makes the sweet sweeter, right? I so feel your pain. seriously. when I have those weeks, it’s so frustrating. next time I’m feeling that way, I’ll remember your comment and come back to this post and focus.

  7. 7
    Trixie

    I am crying that same cry reading your post. My only child is 13 yrs old and she is such a joy to me. I watch her learn and grow and experience and it makes my heart swell with pride and also break with the knowledge of how quickly she will be leaving my nest to make her own. She amazes me daily! When I was younger I was absolutely certain that I would never have children but thankfully God had a better plan and made me a Mom. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done or ever will do. Have a blessed day. (0=

  8. 8
    Jane Maynard

    I’m glad I could bring others down with me, trixie. ;) if I have to cry, everyone has to cry.

    thanks for your very sweet comment.

  9. I cried reading your post too!
    You summed it up. It is near impossible to explain to people why I say “I know!!!” as a response to “Your daughter’s are so cute.” At almost 4 and 6, they are my heart’s delight.

  10. 10
    Aaron

    get a grip, jane.

    :)

  11. 11
    Kristen

    I totally get what you are saying. Totally!!

  12. 12
    Alison Poirier

    Ok Jane I needed this post. I popped onto your blog to take a look while I am taking a minute to myself since there is a little girl in the house who has regressed with the potty and now I have to go scrub the bathroom! I love how this just worked!

  13. 13
    Alice

    Thanks for this post, I cried that scary mom cry. And thanks to Ellie for her comment, I completely lost it after reading “love keeps growing as they do.” I think it’s the love element that I love and hate about being a parent. I never knew I could love someone this much and yet it’s what kills me when I see my little guy sick or struggling. I’m sure I’ll be the happiest woman with 20 ulcers by the time I’m dead if this love business keeps growing.

  14. 14
    jane

    aaron…you’d cry, too. I know you would. ;)

    alison – ah, the joys. I’m so happy the post came at the right moment.

    alice – I know, ellie’s comment was so great, huh? well, actually, ALL of your comments are so great. :)

  15. 15
    Kim

    I think I will avoid the lastest Knuffle Bunny book now. I just can’t handle it. My daughter has the stuffed knuffle bunny and took it to 36 radiation treatments. Knuffle has been there for us. I know I will never get through the newest.

  16. 16
    jane

    kim – I read your comment while I was sitting in a meeting this morning and almost broke out in tears right there, thinking of you and your sweet daughter! thank you for sharing…and your story just gives that much more meaning to it all for me – endurance, hope, helping others. and I love knuffle bunny even more…much love…

  17. 17
    Hillary

    Oh, Jane. This post made me teary. My husband and I are expecting our first baby at the end of March and I’m already worried that it will all go too fast. Watching our friends with “babies” who are now six-, seven-, eight-years old … Thanks for the reminder to treasure every moment.

  18. 18
    dottie

    Sweet. I’m now watching g/c growing up way too fast!

  19. 19
    Anne

    All I can say is enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! They grow up way too quickly.

  20. 20
    Kim

    Thank you Jane. I used to be the one forgetting how important the little things are but not now. I like that you will focus on the sweet. And I will also.

  21. 21
    laura

    Gosh, I’m on the same page of life with you right now with my 18 month and 4 1/2 year old girls..just reveling in the sweetness of it all..and painfully aware that if I blink, I may miss something. Enjoy every moment!

  22. 22
    Debbie

    My son (who turned 5 last week) is a Knuffle Bunny fan, too. My husband and I were at the bookstore on a (rare) date night a week or so ago, and noticed the new Knuffle Bunny book! We were so excited. So we stood together and read the book. I was in TEARS at the end and he had that glimmer of liquid emotion in his eyes as well. We can’t wait to give it to our son for Hanukkah, but I know I’m going to have a hard time reading it to him each and every time.

  23. 23
    Jane Maynard

    Love it!

    Anna’s preschool teacher insisted I read it to the class the other day because she hadn’t read it yet and was excited. I actually made it through without crying! Until I looked up and one of the preschool teachers was crying. I was able to hold it in…barely! ;)

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