Watching While Time Flies

My son, AKA My Favorite Domer, was home over Christmas, and once again I was struck by how fast he’s growing up.

It’s not just that he towers over me (though he does!). It’s not just that his voice is deeper, or his features more angular than rounded.

It’s his grownup demeanor — his sense of responsibility, his assuming ownership of his day-to-day activities, his maturity.

I’m thrilled, of course, that he’s finding his way. Making what I hope will be lifelong friends. Focusing on his future by tending to his present studies. Not procrastinating when it comes to undesirable tasks like term papers, when he’d rather be playing video games.

We were at Mass, and I caught myself looking at his hands, remembering the baby fingernails I used to trim. Those pudgy fingers now have lengthened into slender, artist/musician’s hands, set off by his Notre Dame class ring.

I looked at his sneaker-clad feet and was transported back to his infancy. When I took him in his carrier to my obstetrician’s office, everybody wanted to hold and kiss those soft little feet with the tiny, perfect toes.

I looked at his profile, the Roman nose of his Italian ancestors, the twinkling eyes and dark coloring of his Irish forebears. How fascinating to see the family traits come together in a unique way!

Now, all this looking happened in the space of just a few seconds. No young man wants his mom staring at him in public.

But after he goes to bed at night and is deep in sleep, I tiptoe to his door and stare.

Drink him right in. That’s a parent’s prerogative, you know.

It reminds me how fast time flies, from infant carriers and diapers, to Legos and school projects, to senior pictures and high school graduation.

Sure those young child days sometimes seem to last forever, especially when you are casually turned into a taxi service, a place for them to dump fears and worries, even a grocery store or fast food outlet. But those days just FLY by, really. Blink and before you know it, they’re grown and out of your house.

So may I make a suggestion — Enjoy every second with your precious offspring. When the going gets difficult (and it does, for all of us!), remember, This, too shall pass.

Does anything make a mom’s heart burst with love the way watching her sleeping “baby” does?

I think not.

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18 thoughts on “Watching While Time Flies

  1. I would “like it” but “I love it” and I can not figure out my password.
    II think not! It goes so quickly–you described it so beautifully…Thank God it just gets better and better-if it didn’t I don’t think I could stand it.

    When we look at our children –we experience endless love (hope I am speaking for all us).and it makes my eyes fill every time perhaps because for me…loving our Children is about as close to the holy as I can get on earth.

    • You’ve expressed it beautifully, Katybeth — “loving our children is about as close to the holy as I can get on earth.” I expect maybe God looks on us with just that kind of love, too (well, maybe on some of us, some of the time!)

    • Yes, Oma, the “little boy” is still in there! Makes your heart melt, doesn’t it? And to think nobody could have prepared us for such powerful emotions before we had the little tykes!

  2. Debbie, are we twins separated at birth? And here I thought I was the only mother who looked at her “baby” while he slept! The resemblance between how you look at your child and I look at mine is uncanny! The heir to my debt is 20 and I still see the chubby five year old who collected Pokemon cards. I love him so! This post was beautiful! One that I’m certain most mothers can relate to. I will confess one thing, I tear up every time, and I mean, ever time, I think of him moving out. I don’t think I will be able to bear it, friend. I’m afraid that when the time comes, my blog will stop being funny and turn into this cryfest, post after post. Grief. That’s what we get for rasing exceptional children! It’s our fault we feel this way! :)

    • But aren’t we blessed to have such exceptional children, Bella? You and I wouldn’t have it any different! I love your expression, ‘The heir to my debt.’ So true, so true. Your son and mine would probably have gotten along famously — mine loved anything to do with Pokemon. That craze captured his whole generation. I think he’d still wear Pikachu slippers if he could find any big enough, haha!

  3. I can SO relate to this! All that time seemed so endless when we were in the midst of changing diapers and facing sleepless nights. And then it’s over. I think we like to watch them sleep, even when they’re young adults, because time seems to stand still for a little while.

    • I think you’re right, Terri — I hadn’t thought of it that way. Time does stand still while they’re sleeping. My own mother would stand and watch me sleep, too, if she had the chance! Thankfully, the diaper phase passes fairly quickly, in the overall scheme of things.

  4. This is the age-old mother’s dilemma. You’re reminding me of the classic song, “Sunrise, Sunset,” guaranteed to bring a tear to my eye each time I hear it. And now your blog post is doing the same. Oh, how I wanted to keep my kids little, but they insisted on growing up, too. Your post is a beautiful reminder to treasure our kids always.

    • That song makes me tear up, too! I guess what my parents told me is true, You’ll never know how powerful love is until you have kids of your own. Watching them grow up is bittersweet. We know they must grow and find their own way, but oh, how we long to travel alongside, softening the hurts, healing the boo-boos, and drying the tears!

  5. I never had children, but I remember my Mom looking at the four of us at different times as if to memorize us. When we were older, in college or maybe right after I remember her saying she wished she could freeze time right then. I wish she could have too.

    • Aw, what a sweet thing to tell a child — your mom’s wish to freeze time! You must miss her dearly. If we’re lucky, our mom is the first person who loves us unconditionally and isn’t afraid to show it!

  6. I just found your blog today … and … today happens to be the day I took my NDcollegeboy to the airport so he could get back to his college life after a month of being home. I had to smile and even hold back some tears (I had already shed enough tears on the way home from the airport) while reading your blog. NDcollegeboy is a sophomore and will bei turning 20 in a few weeks. I look at him and can’t really believe how grown up he is but he still needs his mom, if only just to listen, nod and keep advice to a minimum. I loved having him home for the break but also look forward to getting back to our life around here – he has 2 busy younger siblings. Thanks for your “domer mom” insight. Oh, NDcollegeboy got Pikachu pajama pants for Christmas and I am sure he will be wearing them around the dorm! :)

    • Hi Kim and Welcome! My Domer is a junior, just shy of turning 21 (EEEEEKK!!). It’s hard to see where the time has gone — seems like just yesterday he was gathering with his friends, trading Pokemon cards for hours on end! Now he’s up to his eyeballs in studying and papers and responsibility. Kids always seem to rush their childhoods, but I think Domer loved every minute of his! Yes, despite their grown-up appearance, they’ll always need their moms — heck, I still need my mom, ha! My son would love Pikachu jammies!!

  7. I had to laugh when you clarified that the “looking” was over a few seconds. Yeah, I suppose he would get annoyed if it lasted much longer :)

    I do love their angelic looks when they are sleeping. I do sneak in to take a peek, especially on days when they have been particularly rotten! It helps me remember that the sweetness is still there, even if they’ve put up a rough facade.

    • You’ll have plenty of opportunities to watch your “angels” sleep, Janna — just don’t let them know it, ha! It’s kind of like childbirth — we tend to forget the pain and agony when we contemplate the miracle before us.

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