Joy, Sometimes Sweet

Not Just Because He Wears A Napkin On His Head

The prevailing assumption in our culture is that parents can’t wait for their children to grow up and leave home. And yes, there have been a few days when I would have traded Sean for a margarita and a plate of nachos. But not many. At least not too many.

Maybe most people do feel that way, but I don’t. Maybe because I waited so long and so late in life for him and maybe because I thought I’d never be a mother, but I am not anxious for this time to speed by. I am fully aware that the day he leaves my house will be here too soon.

I remember one time when Sean was about a year old, we were seated in a restaurant booth and he was enjoying the thrill of wearing a napkin on his head as everyone does. He was having a good time and we were having a good time watching him have a good time. At one point, the lady seated in the booth behind us turned and said, “Don’t worry, only 18 more years to freedom.” Without thinking I blurted, “But I don’t want to be free from him!” Her face contorted in disgust and disbelief, as though I had just stated for the record that I enjoy sticking straight pins in my eyeballs. That was kind of a conversation killer, so she immediately turned back to her margarita and nachos.

But it’s true, I’m having a great time being a mom even though I’m chronically tired and most of the time I feel like I don’t know what in the heck I’m doing. I mean how often can you take someone to dinner and get them to dance on the table with a napkin on their head purely for your own amusement without buying them drinks? Not that often people. Not since college anyway.

Sean is a source of joy in my life. I like having him around. He makes me laugh. He makes me remember to breathe long and deep. With or without a napkin on his head.

64 thoughts on “Not Just Because He Wears A Napkin On His Head

  1. Beautiful, and I totally agree. Most of the time. I am always telling my boys to stop growing, or that I miss the little boys that they were. This age has its advantages, but they are too big to dance on tables now.

  2. I truly enjoy being a secret reader of your blog and your post today about your son growing compelled me to write. Enjoy every single minute with him. My children are now 17, 14, and 14 ( yes, twins) and while I have had my share of rip my hair out days, I can’t believe how quickly they are coming to an end! I think I only blinked! I feel sad on my kids birthdays and I feel that they are such a measure of time gone by. I adore my children and I think the world is evidence of so many parents NOT caring for their kids. I am proud to say that I ALWAYS cared!

  3. Like you, I was older (39) when I had my twins. About two weeks ago, my daughter lost her first tooth. She was thrilled. I nearly cried because it meant my “baby” was maybe, perhaps, just not quite a baby any more.

    When I had my children a friend told me “the days are long but the years are short” and I’m reminded of that daily.

  4. ME TOO! I love it And it’s not just napking wearing and table dancing. It’s unabashed pants wetting as well. How many people do we get to know so well who think they are the greatest, smartest, cutest person in the world, all the while, walking around in their own pee. That takes confidence, I’m sure.

    Only, today while both of my children were crawling all over me mauling my face “playing” with my hair, etc—I did long for a simpler time when my body was my own—no explanations or bargaining. “If you let go of my cheek I’ll get you some marshmallows”.

    I love your love of motherhood. It’s refreshing and reminds me to stop and enjoy it too—especially with the not knowing what I’m doing part. I usually tell myself it’s okay—they don’t know what I’m doing either.

  5. I couldn’t agree more…at least most days. Just the thought of Kindergarten can send me to tears, so I’m sure I’ll have to call in some kind of specialist to help me with the whole going off to college thing.

  6. Amen, Amen.

    And just for the record, the only reason you haven’t seen me dance on the table with a napkin on my head is because you never asked.

  7. I remember when I first got pregnant with my first child. I got a lot of negative comments on how hard it was. Finally one mom said, “oh your pregnant, You will love being a mom.” I always remember this and I try to always share with people the positives of being a parent because in reality there are far more positives than negatives. I do love being a mom and I hope they don’t grow up too fast. Today in the shower I told my daughter to stop growing up so fast and she said, but I want to grow big like you. We must enjoy them now because ineveitably they will all grow big like us.

  8. I’m waiting for my first baby, and so I don’t have the experience of motherhood yet, but I love kids, and can’t wait to be a mom…it really makes me sad when people who have been blessed with kids complain about being a parent, and I’m thankful that you have such a great perspective! I can see myself responding to that lady in the restaurant the same way! πŸ™‚

  9. Oh yes, AM… Yes! And it’s thoughts like these that make me rue the fact that I must work in order to eat. Although I love what I’m doing, I’d rather be home because I only have a short time left with my children who are closer to that impending college time. Sometimes I only want the title of Mom to wear on my tag.

    And like Jeana, I’ll do the napkin dance for you. Of course, I’ll hold out for a drink first because then you have a reason to state for all the others who will be staring around us. And because I’m a lush.

  10. I feel like my children’s childhoods are hurtling by at an alarming rate. My oldest is looking at colleges and it is breaking my heart although I am excited for him to take this next step. At least I have him home for one more year. My youngest is a freshman and I’ve about written him off too because I know how fast high school goes.

  11. I’m so glad you said what you felt to that woman. Just the other day I told my husband I wanted our kids to just freeze in time–they are just right where they are. They ar 5 1/2, 4 1/2, 3 1/2 and 18 months and none are in school yet. While some days are challenging, I’m just not ready for them to get bigger. Your posts are always so uplifting and encouraging–thanks for sharing with all of us.
    By the way, I think every parents has moments (sometimes days or weeks) where we don’t know what we are doing.

  12. I couldn’t agree more. I get endless joy from my son. Whether we’re doing something together or I’m watching him in awe as he asserts his independence. I love every minute of it — even the trying ones! Though I did recently discover the beauty of a vacation with The Boy — I didn’t have to be anybody’s mommy for two whole days! (But boy was I anxious to get back to mommying when our little trip was over! πŸ™‚

  13. I can’t wait to see my son as a grown man; what kind of husband will he be? What kind of father?

    But I don’t want to give up his little boy years too soon either.

    They are too precious to waste.

  14. AM – I too am a secret reader of your blog and coming out this morning to let you know that I too never want this fun to end. I have informed my 8-year old son many times that his daddy and I will be parking our RV (that we intend to pay for with all of his saved college fund because he will be going away on a full-ride scholarship) outside his dormitory at college. I don’t think anyone will notice, will they?

  15. And does he sometimes wear underpants on his head? I love these little kid days oh so well – and the nights too – she makes such a nice hot water bottle and someday she won’t want to sleep in our bed anymore. So we enjoy it while it lasts, even though it’s sometimes exasperating.

  16. Oh, I totally agree with you! I’m in no hurry for these years to pass by. And they pass by way too quickly. I often feel discouraged and exhausted, but I couldn’t imagine my life any other way. I’m so thankful to be blessed with children and No I don’t want them to grow up!!! I don’t look forward to the days when I no longer hear the little pitter patter of tiny feet whirling through my house.

  17. There are days when I am so full of the joy of being Harry’s mom, that I grab him and hold him tight, as if I can hold him back from his relentless march toward independence. I am so proud of the little man that he is becoming and so very sad to see the little baby he was receding in the rear-view mirror. I am savoring every minute I can still be his mommy.

  18. You are such a great Mom, and truly appreciate every little thing your son does. Sadly, many mothers can’t wait until their kids grow up and miss all the simple joys of watching them grow. Yes,there are days when things don’t go so well, but they truly do grow up so very quickly.It seems like only yesterday when our girls were born, and now the oldest one will be 17 in less than a month and the youngest will turn 13 later this year. Keep on enjoying every minute of Sean’s life.

  19. My ever-charming mother-in-law always says “I did my time” when other people ask her about babysitting her grandchildren. Isn’t that sweetly maternal?

  20. Yes, yes and yes! I can’t believe how many mothers it seems do not recognize what precious gifts they have been given. In casual discussions with other mothers about after-school activities, etc, and explaining how we didn’t feel it was good for our family to have kids involved in too many activities outside the home, I asked the rhetorical (I thought) question “when would you ever get to talk to your kids?” And one mother actually said to me “that’s the point!” How awful!

    I love the saying ‘the days are long but the years are short’ – we’ve had some looooong days recently with everyone being sick, etc, but then I glance at my four year-old and how did he get so tall? And my baby is talking up a storm? I know the day they leave my nest is only a blink away and I pray that I will remember to treasure every moment the Lord gives me with them.

  21. I agree with you completely that time is moving too fast. I find it hard to believe that Avery is 8 months old already. This has been the fastest 8 months of my life.

    I do want to caution you, though. My husband is an only child and his parents have still not learned to let him go. He is almost 30 and they still treat him as a little boy that they don’t want to let go. He hates it and it pushes him further from them. (but you have years and years to figure out how to let him go and still be a part of his life, so keep enjoying what you have!)

    here is a quote that might help:

    “The love of a parent for a child is the love that should grow towards separation.”
    — Kahlil Gibran

    Again, I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting him to stay young and enjoying him now. I am doing the same exact thing with Avery. πŸ™‚

  22. I agree, I love my little boys how they are and don’t look forward to them growing up and not needing me anymore. One of my favorite poems is:

    “Cleaning and scrubbing can wait for tomorrow,
    for babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow.

    So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep,
    I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.”

  23. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that was such a strange comment that lady made to you. Who says that?

    When I was in my early twenties, a friend of mine had three children in quick succession. Her reason for having her kids so young? So that they would be out of the house by the time she turned 40. That struck me as so bizarre.

    I’m guilty of wishing these years away, sometimes, but it’s never so that I can fast-forward to when my children grow up and leave home (that idea is too horrifying to contemplate). Instead, I focus my attention on the wonderful days just around the corner when my children will have outgrown whatever awkward phase they’re in right now and will be beautiful, angelic companions at all times. That happens when they’re 4, right?

  24. I needed to hear this today. As the Mom of a spirited child, it’s sometimes hard not to wish the time away. But I will miss both of my kids like crazy when they are gone, and I have to sometimes stop and remind myself how great it is to have them in my life, even with the struggles. Thank You.

  25. I never got that maternal instinct. I’m very happy not being a mother. However, my life has been enriched by my nephews. It seems that watching others enjoy life sure helps me enjoy mine.

    Now, about the margarita and nachos…

  26. Amen, amen, amen! I will choose to remember this the next time my children are making me wish I could I trade them in for a margarita and nachos. πŸ™‚ Relish every minute!

  27. But would the nachos have really awesome guacomole on them? And the margarita— would it have extra salt? Because I’d have to take a minute to decide about handing over the kids, some days.

    But I will weep the day they leave. I’m absolutly dreading that moment.

  28. I’m sure someone has already said this, but…

    Why be a parent if your whole desire is for the day they leave? After all, parenting isn’t a requirement.

    Yes, some days I feel like ripping my hair out (piece by piece), but the great days far outweigh the difficult.

  29. Have you seen “The Holiday”? It has Jude Law and Kate Winslet in it. There is a GREAT napkin head scene that you would love.

    I also enjoy being a Mom the majority of the time but I also savor our date nights without the child in tow….



  30. a big fat AMEN, SISTER! to that one. πŸ™‚ i just recently blogged about a woman staring at me at the playground the other day; me snapping away at hailey with my camera. not sure why i felt like i had to say something but i did. i said, “i take my camera everywhere with me”. she commented back something to the effect of, “she MUST be your FIRST”. my thoughts on that – first, middle or last, i will be taking a zillion pictures of ALL of my kids! why do people think that we want childhood to go away so quickly? i’d be happy if it lasted forever! i personally love ignoring the world around me and focusing all of my attention on my little one. she has brought me the most joy i’ve ever felt in my LIFE!

  31. Ooooooooohhhhhhhh do I relate to you! I’ve got 5 kids under seven and I wouldn’t trade these days for the world!!!!

    And I don’t look forward to them ending.

    Not at all.

    Not one bit.


  32. There are always days that you feel like “what was I thinking” but the ones where you think “I’m so glad that I’m not missing this!” outnumber those by far.
    I would think the lady who made such an inappropriate comment to you was maybe a bit embarassed? And what exactly were you supposed to say? “Yeah, thanks. It’s like prison” ???

  33. MY Antique Daddy brought me to tears last year. His niece told him that she had decided to stay in Southern California where she went to college instead of coming back home to Northern California where her parents (AD’s sister) lived.
    When he hung up the phone he said, “What’s the use of having kids if they’re just going to move away?”
    He meant it! I dont’ know what he’s going to do if/when one of ours moves away when they “grow up”. Maybe he’ll be like your AD and be their roommate?

  34. Motherhood is such an amazing blessing. My heart aches for people who do not – for whatever reason – enjoy parenting their children because they are really missing out!

  35. I am an older mom who NEVER thought I would have a child. Since the day he was born, I have been trying to slow down time so as not to miss a moment with him. They will be gone from us in a blink of an eye. I try to enjoy every second, even if it’s hard or not so much fun. And we laugh a lot.

  36. Amen, AM, and well said. Mine are almost grown and I’m not looking forward to the day they leave.

    It all ends too soon. I wish more mommies valued this high calling.

  37. They do grow up way toooo fast, but even when they leave home, they’re never truly gone.

    My girls are 25 and 26, in their own homes, but I’m still getting to be “the Mom” by times. “Mom, David Riley has a temp of 102. What should I do?” “Mom, I can’t breathe very well, and my chest is congested. What should I take?” “Mom, I’ve had a rotten day. Can I come by for a hug?” “Mom, life is truly the pits right now. Can you pray with me?” “Mom, I met this really neat person at work. Can you stop in tomorrow, so I can introduce you?” “Hey, Mom, the choir did sooooo goooood with the new song I taught. I wish you could have been there to hear them sing!”

    Enjoy every moment that they are little, but don’t be afraid of the grown up “child” they will become.

  38. As the mother of a newly-minted 18-year old who leaves for college in August I can tell you from experience that this woman is dead wrong. Will he be living some place else? Yes. Will the rooms he shares with his brothers be cleaner? Absolutely. Will there be a hole in the fabric of our family. My friends….it’s already here and it makes our home awfully drafty. He won’t be here, but we’ll never be “free”, nor will we want to be. But I’ll have that margarita anyway.

  39. You so speak the truth. Aside from potty-training and colic, I’m happy to have everything else proceed as slowly as possible!

  40. Well, yes. The compensation I have found now that my girls are grown up completely is that we are friends. Good old chat-on-the-phone, lend a hand, giggle together friends. I’ve even gone on vacation with one or both of them, and it has gone splendidly. I’ve also gone on vacation with elder daughter and her whole family and done the babysitting — this is also fun. Precious days to savour all over again.

  41. I’m with you ladies — who would want to be free of it? I know in my head that my job is to get him ready to go out into the world on his own, and already (and he’s not even 3) I feel certain that the greatest gift I can give him is to DO THAT, no matter how painful it is to me. Even when all I want is to snuggle up with him and never let him go, to make the choice for what’s best for HIM in the long run.

    But MAN, I wish they grew up slower! How did three get so close to the horizon so fast? And when did three turn into being an adult? Three — it’s the new 18!

  42. I’m not worried about Addie as much; she’s a girl, and I’m pretty sure I’ll have her heart forever. It’s the boys I’m holding onto hard–they’re going to marry women who want to go see their own moms for Christmas, and I’m going to be sad, sad, sad.

    Can you tell kindergarten is right around the corner for us? I’m all weepy everytime I think about Caiden leaving. Even if it’s only for three hours a day. I’m a mess πŸ™‚

  43. Wow, so sweet and true. I think that we all think from time to time what will life be like when we don’t have to tend to their every need?! Then we sob for a while and just enjoy the precious time that we get to enjoy with them now!

    Great post!

  44. i love to read stories like this to know that I may not be the only mom on earth who wants to be around her children as much as possible and having other children over if it keeps mine here too. the other moms on the street have their children come here so they can get some peace and quiet. I, on the other hand, love to play and talk with them when they are here. Sometimes, they look at me like I have three heads. I think you would get the same look. my oldest is 8 but I can’t imagine anything changing (on my part) when he turns 18!

  45. You have taken the words right out of my mouth. I had Carter when I was 43 and assumed I’d never be a mother. I loved pregnancy and I’m loving being a mother. Even when he’s having a toddler moment I think I love him even more then.

  46. Like you, I waited a long time to have my boy and I have no interest in rushing the time along!
    No one else can make me laugh so hard or love so much.

  47. Well put! My oldest is only three, and I already feel like they’re growing up too fast. I enjoy having them little so much! What a blessing to be a Mom. What a shame that so many don’t appreciate that blessing.

  48. When I was pregnant, all I wanted was to have a child that was independent & not clingy. Turns out I’M the clingy one. Thinking about digging out a basement so that a grown Woggie will have somewhere to live that isn’t too far from Mommy.

    One of us will need therapy!

  49. I will be ready to release him when the time is right, afterall, everything I’m doing as his mother is to prepare him for that day. I don’t dread that day — I just want to be sure to soak up every minute of these days.

  50. I totally agree with you. It makes me so sad when Moms talk about how they can’t wait for their kids to leave home! I want to be the Mom forever and enjoy each moment that my kids still want me around!!

  51. You go girl – that other one must not have had kids. Any real parent does enjoy their kids much more often than not (though we do all have our moments).

    Enjoy him completely and remember everything you can!!

  52. AMEN! I used to say that I couldn’t wait till they were ALL in school so I could have a morning or two to myself.
    Now that I’m staring it in the face in September, I’m going WHOAAAAA NELLY! And volunteering at their school so I can be closer to them! I almost feel like a stalker to my own kids. πŸ˜€

  53. I’m reading this on my son’s 18th birthday..and remembering some of his precious actions. Bittersweet.

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