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Can you relate to the joy and agony you feel as your kids get older, wishing you could go back in time with them?

My oldest turned 12 yesterday. Wow, how fast the time flies! TWELVE years!
I have one constant thought: how did we get here so quickly?

When he turned 10, I freaked out over double digits. Now he’s officially a preteen and this is my last year of him as a boy, as he transitions into a new age category next year.

I see my little boy drifting into memory and I’m realizing just how precious every. second. is. Every single breath, every memory, every day is just such a precious gift.

If it’s not clear, I obviously struggle with his birthdays more than my own, even when it means I’m starting a new decade. And every year as the boys get older, it gets BETTER! They are more fun, they are real people with real ambitions and interests, they are easier to talk to, and enjoyable to be around. But in a selfish way it also breaks my heart knowing I have just a few shorts years before he’s off to college and out of the nest for good.
That may sound a little overdramatic, but if the lightning speed of the last 12 years is any indication, the next 6 will be on hyper speed. And I’m not ready! I’m not ready for my beautiful boy to grow up and be in the “real world” and all the risks and dangers I can’t possibly be there to protect him from.

When he was little he was already a great sleeper by the time he was just a few months old, and that continued on into his childhood. But some mornings he’d wake up early — when I wasn’t quite ready — and I’d rock him back to sleep to extend our nighttime and early morning. Those days seem like they could have been just 3 or 4 years ago, not 10 or 11. And I remember how I was as a young mother — exhausted, stressed, worried I was going to hold and rock him for too long. And now I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self, “Remember this. Feel this. Make it last. Hold on for as long as you want before putting him down!“
In some ways children keep us young. In others, they age us prematurely.

But as I look at the last 12 years, I am so humbled and amazed at the young man he’s becoming. Sweet, compassionate, SMART, funny, athletic, patient, full of character and integrity— the list goes on for why he’s so special. And it’s a blessing for any parent to say that about their child.
But him getting old is…It’s bitter-sweet.
It’s a reminder that childhood is like sand flowing through a sieve. Each day with your children is like a grain of sand, and the moments — although wonderful and memorable — slip by us so quickly.
I want to slow down time. I want more 3-year-old cuddles, more 5-year-old T-ball, more playing with cars and trucks and a room full of never-ending Legos, more silliness and vulgar bathroom humor, more bike rides and listening to him play by himself on the karaoke machine, more playdates and monkey bars, more cooking on a step-stool, more kitchen dance parties before school, more, “but PLEASE Mommy, buy this for me!” I want more of it all.
And yet, the flip side is what we gain as they age — more closeness (hopefully) and true understanding, more maturity and real conversations. But sometimes I just want the little cuddles that help to put everything back right in his world, and mine.

How did we get here so quickly? My heart is leaping with joy, and at the same time, it’s breaking. Because I realize he’s not a child anymore. Motherhood is such an overwhelming, crazy kind of love. It’s raw and unyielding, it’s magical and heartbreaking all in one.

To celebrate his birthday, we ate at Carrabba’s Italian Restaurant, a place he had chosen because we all love it and have celebrated many times there. We invited my mom and my husband’s parents to join us, so he had a small, but memorable family gathering. Rather than cake, he had four different flavors of bundt cupcakes, and we loaded them up with candles. And as he blew them out, I asked him, “Did you remember to make a wish?” He smiled one of the biggest smiles I’ve seen on him and said, “Yes Mommy, I knew exactly what I was going to wish for.”

And that {!firstname_fix}, when it’s all said and done, is worth looking at and celebrating, realizing my husband and I are doing well with him, that he’s happy, healthy, and thriving. It’s worth pausing and celebrating the precious moments we have with our children as they come. It’s worth it to express Gratitude and choose to be joyful rather than sorrowful about the time already gone.

Even when you want to cry because it’s all going by way too fast. Even then, simply pause, smile and say a quiet “Thank you” to the Universe for the time we’ve had, and the time we’re yet to be given.

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Christina

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