I just watched the season finale of Glee. Aside from the obvious reaction that I could spend the rest of my life listening to Chris Colfer sing, it reminded me that my babies someday very soon will grow up.
It was like a minute and a half ago that Zachary was born, and now he’s seven-going-on-eight. I walk in his room to tuck him in at 10:30, and – assuming I don’t find him under the covers reading Septimus Heap – he’s all sprawled limbs and hair. He’s so little that I forget how big he is, if that makes any sense, and next year he’ll be in third grade and then he’ll be in middle school and getting Bar Mitzvahed and – holy crap – dating, which is hard to imagine with a kid who insists he’ll never get married because he wants time with his books.
In the morning, I still carry Benjamin downstairs not because I have to but because it averts the argument about getting out of bed. That’s where he is, really too old to be carried but just a little too young to stop. His muscular legs dangle awkwardly to my knees while I carry him, and his head tucks into my shoulder. His hair stands up in the back, tickling my nose when I lean in to feel the flush of sleep still emanating.
When I carry Lilah downstairs, her legs are also too long because she’s my infant with the angelic smile, my bald baby and perfect toddler, not this big child with bouncing curls and the attitude and the arguments. Every time I ask her to brush her teeth or put on her shoes, she counters: “I’m doing something.” Sure, kiddo, but you’re not doing what I need you to do.
By 4:00 in the afternoon, I am so fucking tired of the questions and the arguments and the nonstop talking. Plus the slamming doors and the rudeness. And then Benjamin sits at the table doing his art project and something goes wrong and he shouts, “I hate this!” and that’s serious progress because just this morning he would have screamed that he hated me, even though I had nothing to do with the source of his frustration.
They’ve grown up so much since we’ve moved here.
Do you have a little chart on a doorframe where you mark growth? We can’t do that, because we’d have to move the damned doorframe every couple of years. So, we mark growth by how far they’ve come since we lived somewhere else. Since we moved here, Benjamin went from struggling through a page of Magic Treehouse to Capital Mysteries. Lilah went from sweet mama’s girl to sassy accomplice of her middle brother, although late at night, when she comes to my room, she’s still my baby. Zachary? He’s developing a group of friends and seems more comfortable in his skin than I’ve ever seen him.
Their minds move so fast and their bodies change so much. They drive me crazy and I escape to Facebook or work and then when I turn around everything’s different. One day I’m going to look down to check my email on my iPhone and when I look up I’ll be sitting at Zachary’s graduation ceremony.