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Every time you let go of my hand because you think can do it without me, my heart breaks a little. When I try to tell you I love you and you tell me, “No,” a piece of me crumbles. Each time you push me away when I try to give you a hug, I cry another silent tear. When I get down to talk to you and you push me aside, I fight a quiet sob of defeat. When I try to help and you yell at me to stop, I feel just a bit less needed. When you ask me to pick you up but demand to be put down the second I hold you close, I break a little more inside because my little boy is growing up.
Each time I think we will get to cuddle for ten minutes like we used to when you were just a baby, you’re over it so much faster than I am. I want to lie there and linger in the moment but you’re off and running for the next, new exciting thing, leaving me behind and the days of snuggles forgotten. Your spirit is so wild and busy, and it never calms or quiets. You’re on one thing and off to the next before I can even get into bed to hold you for a minute.
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You push my hand away when I offer to hold your hand on the way into daycare; you used to grip my fingers until we had made it safely in the door. Now you run inside and barely look back, which I know I should be proud of. You’re excited to be there and I know you won’t be distraught or missing me all day. You like to run ahead of me in the parking lot on the way to the car; you used to be so afraid and cautious of your surroundings. Now your fearless and I have to stop you, shout so that you’ll hear me amongst all the busy sounds. You don’t understand that I’m not trying to hold you back; I’m just trying to protect you. You give me a heart attack every time you bolt for the street instead of staying on the sidewalk. While you’re so independent now, you’re also so careless and unaware. You think you can do it all on your own, but you’re not quite ready.
You like to try and walk down the stairs and you insist that you don’t need to hold my hand anymore. I try to offer to help, but you shove my hands away and yell at me. I’m terrified you’ll trip over your shoes because you’re so tall and still so clumsy- the stairs are so steep. I’m not trying to smother you or hover; I’m just trying to make sure you don’t fall down a flight of stairs. I’m trying to protect you; it’s my job but you make it so hard to do sometimes.
You’re ready to take on the world and you’re determined to do it about 10 steps ahead of me. You’re ready way before I am and resolute in your decisions; I’m not trying to stop you, I just want you to slow down a little. I’d just like to catch my breath. You’re stubborn and headstrong and I shouldn’t expect anything less because you’re mine. I’m the same way. I see so much of myself in you; it’s going to come back and bite me in the rear faster than I care to admit. You’re so eager to grow and learn and do more for yourself and I would just like to slow down for a moment, just a simple moment to hold you close. But you won’t let me stop you anymore.
I already feel like I’m getting left behind and you’re only just two and a half years old. We spend all day apart and I feel like I barely know you anymore. You’re growing so fast and you change every single day, right before my eyes and the saddest truth is that I’m just not part of that anymore. I have no idea what your day is like, whether or not you eat your veggies at lunch or what your favorite activities are anymore. I get a glimpse into your life each day for two hours before bed and then we are doing the same thing the next day.
The time we get to spend together… it’s never enough. Your best hours are spent with someone else and I am constantly fighting for a way to change that. I get to see you at the end of your day while someone else has already enjoyed you at your best all day long. By the time I pick you up from daycare, you’re tired, grumpy and hungry. You’ve had a full day and it all falls apart the second I see you. You’re bursting at the seems just waiting to let out all of the emotions and energy you’ve kept inside all day. And I know that you feel safe enough with me to let me see that side of you and that I’m supposed to be happy that you trust me enough to love you anyway, no matter how you may act, but I wish I got to enjoy more of your best hours and spend them with you.
Until then, I’ll keep trying to love you and keep trying to protect you from the dangers of the world, no matter how hard you may try to thwart my efforts. I’ll keep holding you back for your own good because someday, hopefully, you’ll understand. I love you my handsome little man and I’m so proud of the amazing little guy you’ve become. You’re the most amazing little person in the world to me and it’s such an honor to have a front row seat to your life. Slow Down Baby Boy, Mommy Can’t Keep Up.