Bittersweet Birthday

by |

Somewhere in the middle of the worn cardboard boxes scribbled with Sharpie notations like 6 – 12 months, crossed out and replaced with 18 – 36 months … Somewhere in the middle of the 20 oh-so-soft and now thin flannel swaddling blankets my mother-in-law made me when my firstborn arrived (I used them with all four) … Somewhere in that silver spoon meant for a youngling’s open mouth, wide like a baby bird with hunger … Somewhere deep in that toy chest where the baby blue stuffed musical “Lambie” rests … Somewhere, packed in tissue: that Rothchild coat my little Alexandra wore in her kindergarten winter! … Somewhere in the Johnson & Johnson playful baths and the Annie’s mac and cheese dinners, the storybooks night after night, over and over again, those ancient Wee Sing videos, the infant seats, the car seats, the bouncy seats, the booster seats, the strollers … Oh, and the diapers, the wipes, the Desitin and all those bottles and sippy cups.

Somewhere in all of what I knew so well firmly sits my happy little man of 10 today. My caboose, the final of my four, now into his double digits.

I am a mother more watchful than ever now. If I watch more closely I can keep time still. Time will not fly when you’re watching the hands tick by. No one need tell me. No sage grandmother can shake her head and gently chide, as though I didn’t realize,”Enjoy it, it goes so fast.”

I know.

My firstborn is 19. My second born, 16. Third born, 14 and the caboose now 10.

Somewhere in the middle of all those baby memories, toddler memories, little girl and little boy memories, live the children who stole my heart at the start. Those teeny fingers, then the running legs, the small, sensitive mouths, often sticky, the questioning, innocent eyes eager to know — their singing voices!

Though they are bigger now … Somewhere in all of that treasure trove memory their babyhoods live. And every time I look at each of them, somewhere I know that. I know that love.

To have my youngest one, at 10, moving ahead and joining the others as a bigger, independent guy is bittersweet.

Early childhood with your children is the hands-down best of it all. And it’s always whirring past … fast … and faster still.

You get this kind of joy if you’re lucky.

And I am. I am!

Susan Day is editor-in-chief of Cincinnati Family Magazine and a mother of four.

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