Thursday, February 21, 2008

On Kids Getting Older

Walter didn't have bus service to school this morning, so he and I traveled on the train together this morning - him to school and me to work.

Walter is a high-schooler now. George and Wilma are not too far from high school either. These kids at one time used to be small, but now they've grown. Walter now travels on the train by himself. The kids go off to sleep away camp during the summer. They are responsible around the house for chores and for doing their homework. They are growing up, doing things and taking on responsibilities that they did not and could not when they were younger. And I began to wonder:

When was the last time I said Sh'ma with them before they went to sleep? I used to do it every day, and now I don't do it with them at all. They're just too old for it. But I don't remember the very last time I did it. I'm fairly certain that the last time I did it I wasn't conscious of the fact that it would, in fact, be the last time.

When was the last time I carried them in my arms? When was the last time I changed one of their diapers? When was the last time that I handed one of them a bottle? When was the last time I read a Dr. Suess book to them?* When was the last time I fed them by hand, scooping the food onto a spoon and making airplane noises to get them to laugh and open their mouths?

Don't get me wrong... I'm not actively looking to return to those days. In many ways, I'm *glad* my kids are older now. I certainly don't want to change their diapers again. But what I regret is the fact that I can't identify the last times that I did these things. I know it seems kind of silly, but the passage of each of those events was a milestone of sorts -- only at the time I didn't know it. When I last said Sh'ma with my kids at night, I didn't know it would be the last time... I probably just assumed that I would do it again the next night or the night after. When I last fed Wilma by spoon, I didn't realize that the next time she would pick up the spoon on her own and would no longer need me to make silly noises. But yet, that very last time came and went; and I wasn't cognizant of it enough to realize that I should remember that moment as the moment that my kids grew up just a little bit more.

The Wolf


* Actually, I read the Hebrew version of Fox In Socks to them about two weeks ago. But it just wasn't the same as when they were younger.



6 comments:

PsychoToddler said...

I know, it's pretty amazing. It's hard to believe that I used to relate to Fudge the same way that I now relate to The PT. Even stranger still to think that I will one day relate to The PT the way that I relate to Fudge, ie as an adult.

The scary part is when they start to treat YOU like a child. Just wait, it's coming.

ProfK said...

When I was a kid I thought the song from Fiddler on the Roof was just a nice melody and didn't pay much attention to the words. Now that my kids are grown, the words have more meaning. "Where is the little girl I carried? Where is the little girl at play? I don't remember growing older. When did they?"

Holy Hyrax said...

>But what I regret is the fact that I can't identify the last times that I did these things. I know it seems kind of silly, but the passage of each of those events was a milestone of sort

There is absolutely nothing silly about it. My kids are 4 and 2, and I think about all the little things myself. I can't beleive my 2 year old is no longer crawling.

Lion of Zion said...

"When was the last time I carried them in my arms? When was the last time I changed one of their diapers? When was the last time that I handed one of them a bottle? When was the last time I read a Dr. Suess book to them?* When was the last time I fed them by hand, scooping the food onto a spoon and making airplane noises to get them to laugh and open their mouths?
Don't get me wrong... I'm not actively looking to return to those days."

god willing you will get to do all these things all over again with the grandchildren.

Pesky Settler said...

It's funny you should write about this.

With an infant int he house again, I'll be starting the nightly Shema soon enough and I was trying to figure out just when I stopped saying it with my girls. I'm fairly certain I remember saying it in this house, but it wasn't for very long so I think it was probably soon after TC turned 13 and SR turned 12.

Of course by then it was just me sitting on their bed, snuggling with them as they said Shema...

Unknown said...

I think that not remembering the last time is exactly the point - growing up is so gradual and amazing that it's the firsts that you want to enjoy, not the lasts. If you happen to get a chance to do it again with them - and their own kids - then you can enjoy it all over again.

Beautiful post.