Recently I’ve noticed a shift in mine and my son’s relationship. It seems that the days of couch cuddles and kissy monster attacks are fading fast while fist bumps and high fives are quickly on the rise.
Justly so, this realization is getting me a bit down.
I remember the first time Lars (at the time, age two) cut his arm on some debris he found on the deck.
The bright red blood that trickled down his forearm was enough to give me a nervous breakdown.
Like most kids, he didn’t feel the hurt until he saw that blood and then it somehow turned into complete and utter agony! I bandaged him while holding my own worry at bay.
I hugged his little body close to mine, showing him I will always been there.
And at the time, he embraced the gesture affectionately.
Nowadays, when the kid gets a cut or scrape he screams bloody murder for about 10 seconds and when I go to hug him (the magical thing I used to do to take away the pain) he pushes me away and says, “I just need a Band-Aid Mom!” in a voice that makes me want to throw my own tantrum.
I try not to take offence.
“He is not my baby anymore, let him grow, let him be a kid.” This is the mantra I continue to tell myself but still have a difficult time coming to terms with.
A small part of me wants to swaddle that five-year-old body into his Lego Movie duvet cover and rock him back and forth until I force the kid into submission.
“Mama knows best Larsy” is the heinously creepy sing-song slogan that emerges in my head each time I think of this scenario.
It then occurs to me that I am not a psychopath and should indeed just let my son mature.
Regardless of how horribly speedy this seems to be happening.
So like every other frenzied mother on the face of this Earth, I have bit my tongue and stood idly by while my baby boy transforms into a … well … boy, before my eyes.
A few days ago, Jamie and I took the children to the water park.
The main attraction was the enormous waves that filled the pool at designated times.
Sophie being the freaky daredevil she is, hopped straight onto Daddy’s back and off they went into deeper waters to brave the surfs.
Lars, on the other hand, has always been a bit more reserved when it comes to the unknown. So he and I hung back in the shallow waters, still enjoying the mammoth whitecaps that came upon us.
At one point, I noticed that his adorable little feet were having a very hard time staying anchored to the pool’s floor so I stealthily made my way towards him and grabbed his hand.
He must have not noticed at first because he allowed our embrace to stick for a few seconds before vehemently pulling away saying, “Mom! I can do it.”
Again in the same voice that makes me want to curl up into the fetal position with a twitchy eye while bawling in a fit about it ‘just not being fair.’ Or something to the same extent.
But instead, I held it together and let go of his sweet little hand (or ‘hany’ as I use to call it before he was too cool to care about what I called his appendages).
Because as parents we all have to let go at some point or another. Even when we really really don’t want to. And although we may have to do this to appease our growing children, it does not mean we have to stop looking out for them.
It was this thought that crossed my mind when I watched a huge wave come up on my five-year-old son and completely engulf his entire body, knocking him over beneath the water.
Without thinking I reached my hand down to find his and pulled him up.
The boy looked at me once he stopped sputtering out water and said, “Thanks Mama, I owe you one.” And I laughed and hugged him, and he hugged me back.
Although it is inevitable that he will mature and grow, this is nothing to be sad about.
It is something to rejoice! He is becoming a spectacular young man, with a brilliant personality.
He is becoming his own person and isn’t that what this parenting thing is all about?
Maybe it is time for me to change my focus.
Instead of becoming overly nostalgic for moments past, I will look forward to the memories that have not yet been made.
While resting easy knowing that no matter how old they get, every once in a while the kids may just need a helping hand from their loving mama.
Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist.