Makes Me Sigh


The other day as Sean and I walked hand-in-hand across the parking lot into the grocery store, I looked down at him and very clearly remembered the first time he walked into the store under his own power, just last year. I remember wanting to burn that image into my mind, wanting to force myself to remember that moment, knowing it was a milestone. Looking at him now, with his long strong legs and confident stride, makes me feel as though someone ransacked my heart and carted off his babyhood.

The months that I carried him into the store, all six pounds of him, in an infant carrier seemed to go on forever. I would have him snuggled down into the carrier and covered with a blanket. If anyone even looked like they were thinking of peeking under the blanket, I would give them the mama bear glare that promised I would rip them to shreds.

I remember thinking what a lot of work that was to get him in the carrier and then get the carrier snapped into the base in the car and then out of the base and then schlepping it into the store. There is no way to carry those things that is not awkward. I never dreamed six pounds could feel so heavy. And then once I had the carrier secured to the shopping cart, I couldn’t see over it and I was always bumping into somebody or something. And then doing it all in reverse on the way home. I remember it being exhausting. There was no energy left for any other tasks on grocery store day. Yet I miss that infant carrier.

I remember the first time I took him to the store and let him sit in the shopping cart seat – with a seat cover of course and only after I swabbed down the entire cart with Clorox wipes. I remember how much fun we had goo-gooing over one another and rubbing noses and hugging all through the store and how strangers would stop to tell me how cute he was. It was fun, but still it was exhausting. No one tells you how much schlepping comes with motherhood. Yet I miss that shopping cart seat cover.

Now he gets himself out of the car. Now he tell me to “Look both ways Mom” and protectively guides me across the parking lot. I try to remember to Clorox wipe the cart, but sometimes I don’t. He doesn’t want to sit in the seat so much anymore, but likes to hang off the back like a surfer catching a wave. Now I try to keep him from running down the aisles and stashing Coco Puffs and other contraband in the basket unbeknownst to me. And it’s exhausting. When we get home, he likes to help carry in the groceries, or at least the bag with the Coco Puffs. Someday I will miss my grocery store buddy and finding surprises when I put groceries away.

As we approach his third birthday, I look around the house and I see that the infant carrier is gone, the shopping cart seat cover has been tossed into a box in the garage, the baby gates are gone, the cabinet latches are gone. The baby is gone.

And it makes my heart ache because I know that someday too soon, the boy will be gone too.

36 thoughts on “Milestones

  1. Sitting here rocking sophie, listening to lullabyes and already wondering how she got so big in such a short time.

    You are right – hang on to the memories because the kids do grow up.

  2. My oldest child is seven. SEVEN. Sometimes I can catch a glimpse of the teenager hiding just underneath her skin… I never carted my babies around in their carrier, though! I’m too clumsy and frail-armed! I always tucked them into the baby sling, which did my hormonal post-partum heart good AND kept them much safer from Mama’s inability not to drop things.

  3. This really hit home. My daughter just turned 3 and while some days it’s exhausting, the whole thing goes by too fast.

    I’m holding on to the last remnants of babyhood for all I’m worth.

  4. I totally understand. We just returned from a weekend away from our son, and he seems so grown up already.

    Oh, where do those baby days go?

  5. Dont get me started. Miller is only 10 months old…and he has just started walking some….I’m holding on to this one for as long as I can….

  6. Don’t blink he’ll be driving soon. Newphew 3 of 5 turns Sixteen on Monday. SIXTEEN! He is the one I remember the most for some reason. He was always such a happy baby. Now, a grouchy teen. He towers over me by SERVERAL inches. He no longer is my cuddly bear. He has facial hair and a deep voice and I have to stop to see who is talking because I can’t tell him apart from his older brother. Yes, soon he will be running off to barrow the car.

  7. What a beautiful post that made me cry! You put it so beautifully! My older daughter turns 3 soon too! Where does time go?

  8. Right you are…some day the boy will be gone, too. Or in the words of Peter, Paul and Mary…” a dragon lives forever, but not so little boys”. (I cry every time I hear “Puff the Magic Dragon”, much to my family’s dismay.)
    Treasure each moment with Sean.

  9. My little boy is turning 21 on Christmas Eve. I can’t imagine having a 3 year old at my age, I’m 3 years older than you. I would give new meaning to the word neurosis for sure.

  10. Just before I read your post I was staring at my mouse pad. On it is a picture of the boys that was taken in the Spring of 2001. They were so little, so precious. Now Jonathan is in 3rd grade! How did that happen? My baby is a 1st grader. They really do grow up fast.

  11. I now send my kids scattering hither and yon in the store to help me with my list if they have to go with me at all, which is a fate worse than death, according to them. I so vividly remember their chubby little knees poking me as we cruised the aisles while they sat and pointed. My babies are now in 5th and 3rd grade — it really does go just as fast as people tell you it will.

  12. Oh girl, it does go way too fast. We are treasuring every single moment with little man. The grown ones grew and were gone before we blinked our eyes!

  13. And then, I weep… such a sweet post. Mine is three and yesterday she told me she was tired and it was time for a nap. She kissed me, went in her room, turned off the light and got in bed. Asleep instantly. Didn’t need me. When did this happen?

  14. My Bub is almost exactly the same age as your Sean (born Nov. ’03), and I read this whole post nodding my head but thinking, “I don’t miss those days AT ALL. Walking? Great milestone. Ditching the infant carrier? Best day of my life.”

    Then I read the last line.

    I have to go and cry now.

  15. Oh honey wait until you are ready to celebrate the 13th year. I am sooo not looking forward to saying “I have a teenager!”

    Each birthday I celebrate and I am sadden at teh same time.

  16. It does go far too quickly. I remember wishing I could keep my boys little always. Now I look at them with their own little ones and sometimes feel like I’m in a sort of time warp. How did that happen? Where did all those years go? You are right to treasure the moments. There will be lots more to come, and every one is precious. Watching the amazing young men my little boys have become is more precious than I can say.

  17. Yes this too shall pass, yet you will be ready for it, but it doesnt make it any easier. I cant believe I closed my eyes to sleep and when I woke up I had a yong man who is now 16 and I am glad for it. So shall you be. Enjoy!!
    That is what I love about you and your writing you are honest about these feelings because it just is a part of life.

  18. My son is only fifteen months old and I swear I think about this every day. I have already cried thinking about the day he goes off on his own, and he isn’t even out of diapers yet! Every time I put up another baby thing that he has outgrown, I am sad, partly because he is becoming a little boy so fast, and partly because I know I will never use those little baby things again. Sniff, sniff.

  19. How do you do that? One day, you have me laughing hysterically and today, I have tears in my eyes. I enjoy your writings, for sure, but maybe it is because we are on the same page. Same age with little ones the same age and savoring every last second. But, I have a son that is a teenager and I am surprised because I am not sad to see him grow up, but am reveling in his development. Hopefully, I will feel the same with the others too.

  20. Oh, I am SO with you. I have cherished every, single age my children have been. I have truly enjoyed them at every stage (some more than others!) and tried to soak it all in. Some days–many, really–I can’t get enough of my kids. (And they’re 7 & 11!)

    The good thing is, yes, they grow–but you & I are blessed enough to enjoy them now, rather than look back at how quickly the time went and wished we’d enjoyed them more.

  21. That was just WRONG. I came here for a little chuckle and you went and made me cry! My baby boy is 19 months, and I was rocking him and holding him after his nap today and just wishing that he would let me do this always. Well, at least until he outweighs me. He’ll always be my baby, even when he’s bigger than his mommy. Beautiful post.

  22. Life, as I am sure you have realized, goes way way way too fast. I could write a book about that fact. I fell asleep one night with a house full of beautiful, sweet, and angelic children. Somewhere before dawn they were all grown up and gone. It was just that fast. Now, my empty nest is so empty. No one slams the doors or complains there is no food in the house. No one whines……God, dear God, I miss whining. I only have myself to tuck in at night. I was born to be a mother. I was born to nurture. I treasure everyday we had together……just as you do too. It will pass way too fast. Believe me. Enjoy it all as I see you do. Treasure the big and small memories. Teach him about Jesus. Teach him about respect. Teach him to laugh and appreciate life. A mother holds her children’s hands for a little while but their hearts forever.

  23. Ah you have lots of time left, just treasure it, and rejoice in it.

    My 20 year old has left home, but he still rings up his Mum.

  24. I started my family young, I was barely 18 when I had my first child. Now, I am 35 with my 7th on the way. I couldn’t wait for each milestone with my first 5 children. I was so proud of the, and I just loved watching them grow. Now I have one after 30 with one on the way, and I am taking the time to cherish each moment. It is a blessing to have children when you are out of your own youthfulness. (not OLD, lol) You know the years pass too quickly, and don’t want to let anything pass without embracing it fully!
    (except the teen years, they can pass quickly! They are painful!)
    God bless!

  25. Today my 14 yr. old son got his braces off, and I felt like a jerk because I was fighting back tears. Where did the last 2 years go? I remember food shopping with him sitting in the cart like it was yesterday, before he even had teeth. Gosh, enjoy this time. There’s 5 teenage boys in my den right now playing some insane video game and calling each other idiots.

  26. I know just how you feel. My oldest son is 7 and my baby boy is leaving toddlerhood on the 1st. He’ll officially be a preschooler and wants to do everything himself. Not much schlepping going on anymore! I don’t really want to go back, but do we have to speed ahead so quickly?

  27. I WILL NOT cry at work today. I just won’t do it.

    I have been thinking stuff like this lately as my son’s first birthday approaches in less than three weeks. I never believed parents when they told me they grow up in the blink of an eye. The newborn weeks seemed to stretch on, but as he gets older and learns and changes more each day, I can see the time flying right before my eyes. It’s exciting and a little depressing at the same time.

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