By Morgan Starr from Rookie Mommy Raising Boys
My 3-year-old didn’t want to go to sleep last night. We read a story, he begged for another one, he had a drink, he went to the bathroom, he had another drink, we talked about where he would go the next day while I was at work, and the list goes on.
While we were talking (or while I was negotiating with him to try and get him to stop requesting things and go to sleep, rather), out of the blue he told me, “Mommy, I’m growing big. And when I do grow big, I won’t hug you anymore.” My stomach churned. My heart broke.
“Buddy,” I asked him, “why won’t you be able to hug Mommy when you’re bigger?”
“I just won’t,” was his matter-of-fact reply. “I’ll be too big.”
And that’s when it hit me. Down the road, and I don’t know when, but down the road, there will come a time where he doesn’t want to hug me anymore. He won’t hang on me like a monkey, or wrap his arms around my legs and sit on my feet while I’m trying to cook. He won’t want to snuggle as he’s falling asleep or lie on top of me while we watch a movie. He won’t crawl into my lap in the rocking chair and request book after book be read to him. It’s coming.
Right now, he always wants my attention. He wants to give me physical affection in any way possible: he wants to hold my hand and give me sloppy toddler kisses. He tells me he loves me about 1,000 times a day, and he questions my wedding ring because he says I belong to him and not Daddy.
There are times when all the neediness drives me insane: when I just need to get something done for work, or I need to pay a bill, or I’m trying to make a phone call or send a text message or an e-mail. There are times when I let out an exasperated, “STOP,” or “Get off for just one second!” There are times when I’ve told him to sit in his own chair when he’s climbed onto my lap at dinner. There are times where I’ve made him sleep in his own bed when he’s begged me to let him come cuddle in mine.
But this isn’t going to last forever. I need to stop; I need to let him be little.
Sometimes we rush our kids into growing up. We tell them to be “big boys” or “big girls.” And of course there are some perks to them growing: feeding themselves, walking, sleeping through the night, going to the bathroom alone. But we push more and more onto them, giving more responsibilities and expecting maturity, when sometimes we really should just let them be small, let them be needy, not make them “grow big” too soon, because those days will be gone before we know it. In the moment, these days of need, need, need can feel so long, but the years will pass quickly.
My oldest baby telling me he wouldn’t hug me anymore when he is big has woken me up. I want to embrace the now. I don’t want to push him to grow up too fast or too soon. I want to snuggle him and carry him and give him kisses as long as he will let me, because I know there will come a time when his Mommy is no longer his number one girl, when showing his Mommy affection isn’t “cool,” and when he’s too busy for me. Hell, there will be a time when I’m no longer “Mommy” at all. I don’t want to rush time. I’ll embrace the now, the present. I need to remember not to be too busy for him and to cherish every second I have with my little boys while they’re still just that: little.
Rookie Mama Musings: This column is published weekly on Thursdays, by Morgan Starr, right here on the Mama Lovejoy blog. Morgan Starr is a mom of three young boys who is embracing the wild ride of motherhood and learning as she goes. She’s a high school English teacher by day and a writer by night, blogging at www.rookiemommyraisingboys.com. You can keep up with her kids’ antics on Facebook and on Twitter. For more information on the Rookie Mama Musings column, please visit the Rookie Mama Musings page. If you enjoyed this article and you’d like to see more from Mama Meditations or from Mama Lovejoy, you can follow Mama Lovejoy on Facebook, or @Mamalovejoy1 on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Periscope.