If you have children, you know that milestones are something that you hear a lot about, especially in their first year of life. People are constantly asking if your baby is sitting up yet, are they crawling, walking, talking. What is their first word?
When you take your baby to the doctor for the first year checkups, the doctor is always asking about milestones. He needs to be sure that your baby is on track with healthy development.
You may even keep a baby book to keep up with all of the many things that new baby is doing. It is so much fun to look back and remember how old they were when they did all these things.
Then, there are the other milestones: learning to ride a bike, learning to swim, starting kindergarten, and learning to read just to name a few.
Parents often tell stories about these milestones in the lives of their children, and we are often prepared for them. Well, I wouldn’t really say prepared, but at least we know they are coming.
Not with this one. I had no warning, and it almost knocked the breath out of me.
What could this possibly be?
This may sound completely silly to some, but probably not to most Mamas who have been there, done that.
When my first daughter turned about 7 years old, I was cleaning out her closet, changing everything out for the new season, and I realized that all her clothes were falling off the tiny little hangers. You know, the child-sized hangers. How could this be?
How on earth did she get to be so big over night? What happened to the little girl who used to climb in bed with me every night when she had a bad dream or if she just wanted to be close? How did her clothes get to be so big that she needed big girl hangers?! I say “big girl” because it’s really hard to say “grown-up” even though we all know they are the same thing!
I had to change out her clothes hangers, and it killed my soul that day.
Reading this out loud makes it sound so silly, I guess, but I remember sitting in the floor completely heartbroken! Not one time had anyone ever mentioned how difficult this one would be. I mean, most of her milestones up to this point had been happy ones, a reason to celebrate.
But not this one. This one meant that my little girl was growing up, and even though she will always be my little girl, this day reminded me that she won’t always be a child. One day, she will grow up. One day, she will leave home, go to college, start a family of her own.
There was a little bit of grieving that took place that day.
So yesterday as I was hanging up my 7 year old son’s clothes in the closet, I noticed that 4 or 5 of his shirts were hanging off the hangers. I guess it’s time to do this again.
Not today, though. Not today.
Today, those clothes will keep hanging there, one side hanging off and even a few lying at the bottom of the closet because they couldn’t hold on any longer. Kinda like me, I guess. Just trying to hold on a little longer. Trying to hold on to my babies being babies.
So, Mamas with littles, this is for you! If no one has ever warned you about the strong emotion that comes from graduating your baby’s clothes from the cute, tiny baby hangers to the big grown-up ones, consider this your warning. It may sound completely ridiculous now, but just wait until it happens. It catches you completely off-guard! So prepare yourself!
Prepare yourself for that day, the day when you can’t ignore the fact that they are quickly becoming a big person. The day when all of their little moments flash before your eyes, and you realize that your babies are growing up. Take in the smells, the curve of their face, their silly personality, and that oh-so-cute dimple.
These things will never be exactly as they are today. They change so quickly. One day, they are born and the next they are in kindergarten. You wake up and they start middle school. Where does the time go?
I’ve always heard that the days are long, but the years are short, and man, is this true! Take the time to relish in these moments, and, most of all, be thankful they are yours. Someone out there prays everyday for the blessings that you already have.