I find myself extra aware lately of my children getting older. There are little breakthroughs that happen here and there that add up to a whole new way of life.
instance, Quinn has finally mastered his seat belt in both of our cars,
and Aden no longer requires a booster, so the other day when I told
them we all needed to get into the car, I had very little to do with
it. I told them to get into the car, and they did it. I was only
responsible for getting myself in and buckled. No helping anyone else
into a car seat. No leaning in after anyone to deal with buckles or
straps. I just…got in the car, and all the kids got in themselves.
It’s not a big production anymore.
When I think back to Ian’s first
deployment and it was me having to take all the kids everywhere all the
time, getting Aden into the way back, then helping Mona with her belt,
securing a rear-facing Quinn, sometimes during rain and often during
snow…. Being able to just say, “Get in the car” and have it happen
seems like some space age advance akin to magic. So parts of this ‘my
kids are getting older’ thing are great. Other parts I’m not so sure
Aden is tall for her age, and even though she’s only nine it’s easy
to see her as the teenager she will be all too soon. Teenagers need to
pull away from their parents and I understand that. I remember doing
that. But right now Aden still loves me in the kind of way where she
still wants to cling to me when given the chance. She’s snuggly and
sweet and likes hanging out near me, chattering about things she’s
learned on nature shows while I clear dishes and wipe down counters.
When will that change? When will the idea of crawling into my lap seem
silly in a way that’s unappealing instead of funny? I don’t know. I
hope not for a while.
Last night Quinn slept with me because he was sick. He came home
from school not feeling well, went to bed, and pretty much slept until
the next morning. He was achey and had a fever, but today he seems like
his regular self. His cheeks are no longer flushed and he’s up and
eating and telling me things every few seconds. I asked him if he
wanted to go to school or stay home. He lit up and said, “Stay home!”
(The boy loves to stay home. He’s filling out Mad Libs next to me as I
type, and I have to stop every few minutes to read his latest silly
story, so pardon me if this post has an odd flow to it or accidentally
includes random plural nouns.)
Anyway, we’ve been lucky on the uninterrupted sleep front for some time, and it was weird having Quinn back in my bed.
Ian knows how anxious I get when any of the kids are sick, so he
usually finds someplace else to take his pillow and lets whatever kid
needs the snuggle time curl up with me. At least one of us gets sleep
that way. (That one of us was not me.)
I’m amazed how in an unconscious stupor Quinn can find me in the
bed. Every time I felt it was safe to roll away because the boy was
breathing better or sleeping more comfortably, seconds later he’d be
stuck to me like glue. His favorite place to gravitate is to wedge his
head right under my chin and throw and an arm or leg or both over my
body. It’s like his natural state of being is to cling to me. When he
holds my hand, he doesn’t just hold my hand. He holds my hand with both
of his hands, and leans his body against my arm and rests his head
against my elbow as we walk.
Mona gets clingy too. She loves to curl up with me under covers and she’s the only one of my kids who likes to give kisses.
I appreciate all the hugs and cuddles more now that I’m at work a few
days a week and have time to miss them. It drove me a little bonkers
when I was home all the time and someone was pressed against me every
minute of the day. Sometimes it drives me bonkers now.
But last night when I leaned over Aden to kiss her goodnight in her
bed, she clutched my arm and didn’t want to let go. She smiled and
giggled and hung on tight. It was cute for about one second and then I
told her to let me go. She didn’t want to. So I had to tell her in a
serious voice to release my arm so I could go kiss Mona and then go tend
to her sick brother. Aden let me go with reluctance, and part of me
felt bad. Of course I couldn’t stay with her on her bed all night, or
even another ten minutes, but how nice that Aden still wants me to.
Even as I turn the clingy moments away, or lie awake wishing I could
scrape my child off me long enough to get some sleep, I know how lucky I
am to have them so close. I’m glad they are growing up. I’m just not
looking forward to them growing away too much. I like the cling-a-thon.