The Littlest Is 4

lighted happy birthday candles

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Sometime this afternoon, Roger will officially, magically turn four. Both girls were dawn babies, breaking into the world with the sun, but this boy of mine was eager to see the day–so eager that the nurse had to hold him back while we waited for the doctor to get to the room.

That day could have been yesterday or a million years ago. People talk about how quickly time flies, but that’s not how these years of mothering have felt to me. Maybe it’s because I’m so rarely away from my kids, but it feels like I’ve lived three extra lifetimes watching them grow from fully-dependent newborns to independent persons, able to care for themselves and pursue their own interests.

Four years. In those fast/slow four years, my boy learned to feed himself (and what he likes or doesn’t like–the picky one). It’s been an eternity since I watched him pinch little bits of cheese or peas or Cheerios from a tray with complete focus and concentration.

In those fast/slow years, he went from a squishy, immobile lump in my arms to this strapping young boy who zooms through the neighborhood on his balance bike. We’re looking for a regular bike and plan to skip the training wheels altogether (but not the helmet).

In those fast/slow years, he figured out how to talk. Roger was slow to speak and now hardly stops. He sings hymns and Latin songs and tells me stories all day long.

He drew the sun yesterday–and it actually looked like a sun, not just a scribble.

And somewhere along the way, his feet stopped being baby feet. They’re boy feet now. How did that slip by me–when did it slip by me?

Raising babies may not have felt fast, but it does feel permanent. They don’t go back; they don’t keep. And so, for as many days as I desperately wished for a break or a job or daycare, I’m glad that this was our path.

Life is moving faster now; I can feel it. The next four (and eight and twelve…) years will not be as leisurely as these but jam-packed with all the stuff that growing up is made of. And this precious picture of the sun he drew is just the first promise of all that is to come.

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