Tonight I am overwhelmed. Emma had her last spring concert. She was, all of a sudden, a beautiful young lady. It was like meeting a whole new person. Kiley had her end of the year party. Surrounded by her friends, I sat in the background glowing in her amazingly bright spirit. Shawn had his final band concert of the year. The last time I hear him perform in middle school...maybe ever. He was handsome, calm and so cool. Keegan wore his first graduation gown and graduated preschool. He performed with nary a look of fear on his face. Dylan started wiping off my kisses. Sad. So sad.
What happened? I am sitting here quietly sobbing. Watching Keegan belt out his songs with this unbelievable confidence. Seeing him in his cap and gown, all I could see was that lil boy I fell in love with when he started Tots Landing. I am hit by the realization that today is turning into yesterday. Every moment I try to grab onto. I hold on for dear life and try to mentally etch these moments my heart. I know I can't. I know these moments will disappear and fade. I will only have the sweet hint of what these were.
Tonight I am overwhelmed by my 8th grade son who is becoming the most magnificent man. But, even as I celebrate this with pride, I look back for my sweet little boy. The little boy that carried a lunch box and watched spongebob next to me on the couch, sucking his thumb. The little boy who was the first to promise to marry me and be my best friend forever. I didn't believe then what I know to be true now...he is not mine, he never was.
God gave me these babies to mold into the best human beings I could. To allow them to be my definition of his love. Tonight, I am kind of pissed at that. I feel used and so sad. All that love and nurturing is all for no personal gain. I know, I know mothering is selfless but I could never imagine that watching them grow up without looking back is heartbreakingly real. Tonight I am so sad that I only get so few years to have this unbelievable gift of love.
Emma is such a confident girl. She is beautiful inside and out. I watched her giggle with her friends and even saw her check out a boy. But do you know what I really saw? I saw a little girl with lip gloss and a bob playing tag on the playground with AJ. I saw her in her silver plastic crown watching in amazement at the Disney princesses on ice. Where did this girl go?
And Kiley? I saw her lead a group of friends in laughter, telling stories like a tiny comedian. They looked at her in awe...the same way she used to look at me. The little girl in overalls and pigtails snuggled so close to me it felt like we were molded together. The sweet Gracie who let me rub her back in circles to put her to sleep, sucking her thumb while I sang her a song.
Dylan is still little and if I could I would make a magic wand that would keep him with me always. But, as he wipes off my goodnight kiss and for the first time, doesn't ask for monster spray, i know he is growing up and away too. Today he is my lil boy and tomorrow he will be gone.
I realize that you don't lose it all at once. You lose it slowly. The first time he wipes off a kiss or doesn't want to hold your hand. The loss of a goodnight snuggle without you even noticing. Looking for the smell of Johnson and Johnson and only smelling axe. A missing cuddle partner at tv time. A lack of cartoons on your dvr. A bedroom that is covered in dirty clothes...not a stuffed animal in sight. Discovering you are not the face they are looking for in the audience. Hearing them sing a song you didn't teach them. Watching them walk away without looking back.
I know I should be happy. I know I should be so proud of these beautiful kids who make the world smile bigger. But, tonight, I am not. I am mourning my invisibility and the inevitable loneliness their growing up is making me feel. I am feeling broken hearted that just yesterday my first baby was teaching a girl how to be a mom. Just yesterday he was cuddled in my arms and I was singing him "beautiful boy". That happened yesterday.
Today he had his last band concert and in 5 days he will have graduated 8th grade. I saw him today in Keegan who graduated preschool and wore the same cap and gown he did...it seems like yesterday. He is mine and yet, I know he was never mine. They are only mine for a short while, like an achingly beautiful dream that is too short but so wonderful it makes you wish to go back to sleep.
Tonight, I am sad.