It’s a mom cliche: how quickly our kids grow.
This usually causes eye rolls from our kids and nods of agreement from other moms.
How I feel like I was just taking my oldest to kindergarten orientation and now he’s headed to middle school next year. And how it’s just not possible.
But what I didn’t expect, now that we’ve entered tweendom in this house is that those changes now occur so quickly I won’t have any idea what just happened.
How, within the span of just a few short months, I went from “There is NO WAY my son is going on the overnight 5th grade class trip without either his dad or me along. NO WAY!” to “You know what? He’d be perfectly fine without me. I don’t know why I thought I’d need to go along. I wonder if I can get a refund and NOT have to ride on a bus for 6 hours with all those kids…” but then to “Wow, this is probably one of the last trips like this where he’ll be excited that his mom is going along…”
I’ve been prepared for the changes, for the fact that my kids would grow up. We hear it all the time.
But I’m not prepared for just how fast it’s all changing now.
We have to accept that a tween is so much more grown up than that same child was as a baby or toddler.
But do I have to accept that he’s so much more grown up than he was just a few short months ago?
Or maybe it’s me who is changing. Who is realizing I need to relax my grip and let my son do more on his own, more of what he’s capable of.
I remember being told, way back when I still needed a double stroller and a baby carrier to cart my kids around in, that parenting is like a funnel. You’ve got to hold on super tight down there at the bottom when they’re small. Not allowing them much freedom because it’s dangerous to do so. And then, as they grow up, we have to relax our grip, moving our hands up the funnel, allowing our kids more and more freedom. That we can’t do this backwards, letting them do whatever they want when they’re young and then trying to force a tight control on them just when they should be exerting their independence. Our control needs to be less over time, with their freedom greater. Until we finally (and dramatically, with a big thunk) drop the funnel to the floor and become an observer.
With my tween, I’m still down at the part of the funnel where it’s just starting to open up, where my grip is loosening and I know I’m going to have to let go even more.
So, I’m changing.
And he’s changing.
And we need to figure this out together.