5 ways to feel better about your kids growing up (too fast).

Our 10 month old son; Dean; started walking yesterday – jippee. I was so excited; as I believe most parents are when their children reach a new and exciting milestone. We were all there cheering him on, even when he only took 2 steps before transition into a super speed crawl; his big sister making sure to count his every step! And now he’s walking! He is growing up!

We watched him take those first few cautious steps, almost lose his balance and expected him to revert back to crawling (which let’s face it is much easier), but were amazed (and surprised) as he regained his balance and continued on his way. There is no feeling in the world that can quite compare to that sight.

However at the same time my heart started to sink, I was sad. Sad, because (clearly) my baby is no longer a baby. With this newest milestone he will just become more and more independent – which is great, don’t get me wrong; but sometimes you wish that they were still small and completely dependent on you. Everyone’s been there; all parents have at some point experienced that feeling of ‘where did the time go’.

So I decided to make a list of ‘feel – good’ things about his growing independence to make myself happy (just happy – no lingering sadness) about him growing up.

My list:

  • As he grows up and becomes more independent; and his personality develops more; we will get the chance to build an even stronger relationship. The foundation is already there – through the nights of cuddling and hours of play – now we can start building the relationship up even further. That bit is always exciting. This is not only the case for my mother-son relationship, but also his relationship with his older sister. The two of them adore each other, but it is difficult if one is an active and busy 6-year old and the other a crawling 9-month old. They are already starting to play more and for longer – I cannot wait to see their relationship develop even further, with hopeful tears in my eyes.
  • The fact that he is developing and reaching all these milestones means he is healthy. Parents can’t ask for a greater gift than healthy kids, and with so much that can affect their health it is a real blessing to watch them play and grow and know that they are healthy.
  • Having the chance to look back, and pat myself on the back. There is no other achievement quite as profound as raising a child well. And having the opportunity to look and back and say: “You know what, I did a good job.” Is a really affirming and amazing achievement.
  • Knowing that him gaining independence is good for him and will mean a better future for himself is another thought that makes me feel better. Understanding that I am equipping him with the necessary skills to enable him to look after himself and to take care of himself is a very important thing to remember.
  • This feeling (although unpleasant) is also a reminder. A reminder of how important he (and his sister) are to me, how they have changed and shaped my life for the better. How they have enriched my very existence with the simple act of their presence. How their unconditional love and affection has shaped every aspect of my life. That is such an important reminder!

Something else I’ve noticed people doing (and might do myself at the end of this post) is to write an open ended letter to my children, expressing how I feel (and why), and what they mean to me.

So how do you go about not feeling sad about your kids growing up (much to fast):

  1. Be positive, and stay positive about their growth and development.
  2. Make sure to spend as much time as possible with them. Memories help to ease the pain.
  3. Make sure to tell them how much you love them – they need to hear you say it.
  4. Always be supportive, even if they push you away. Let them know that you are there, whenever they need you.
  5. Lastly, understand that growth is part of life; and them growing up means your are doing something right.
Dear Zoey and Dean,
You are growing up so fast; much faster than I’d like. If it were up to me, you would stay small forever, and stay with me forever! I am so proud of how beautifully you are growing, and the type of people you are turning into. I will always be part of your lives, so much so that you might think I don’t know how to let go of you – and that would be true. Every inch of dependence I hand over to you will be a struggle for me – but I will learn, learn to let you go enough to live your own lives. Always remember how much I love you, and know that I will always love you.

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