A few years back I took many of my old blog posts and bound them into a book. They were mostly cute stories of the kids when they were young, interspersed with their baby photos. My kids love flipping through this book, especially my middle daughter, who will often pull it out. It makes me really happy that we have all this family history written down, a one-of-a-kind story of their lives.
Gal Smiley has been on another tear through the book this week and it does make me nostalgic to see their smiling little toddler faces looking out at me, next to tales of adorably mispronounced words and hijinks at the park. But up until now, I’ve never really felt a true longing for those baby times. To me, the real Golden Years were when they were old enough to be out of diapers and naps, free to travel and explore and to have thoughtful conversations about their world – and yet, not quite old enough to be sulky or embarrassed by hanging out with old Mom and Dad. It’s been a great few years.
Now things are starting to turn a bit – just little hints that someday the kids will move on. The older two like hanging out with their friends after school, and no longer rush home to tell me all about their day. They still like to be tucked in at night but most of the time, I’m too tired to make it there so I give them a quick kiss on the cheek and they end up reading long after I’m asleep. They’re still willing to come to the movies with us, and on family trips, but they grumble if we ask them to put their screens away, and they’re long over quiet little outings to the park or a museum. It’s still good – at least now we can talk politics at the table and freely watch PG rated action films with them – but I can tell change is in the wind.
This week my youngest sister announced she’s pregnant with her fourth child – an unexpected, but not unwelcome, surprise. It’s made me set that all aside once and for all – nothing too heavy or depressing, just a quiet, official acknowledgement that yup, we’re done with all that. Baby time is past. I know I won’t miss midnight diaper changes and the challenge of figuring out how to pick up the others from school when you’ve just finally gotten the baby to sleep.
But I do, ever so slightly, miss the promise a baby brings of a second round of the Golden Years. Another round of Curious George movies and sandcastles on a beach vacation and family bike rides.
Deep breath, and head up. Now that I think of it, the Silver Years look pretty good, too. They’ll be additional bodies around here to make dinner, shovel snow, drive over to the grocery store for something I’ve forgotten. Kids who have their own surprising senses of humour, who like my Instagram posts, who enjoy board games that are more complex than The Game of Life (and who handle it better when they lose).
Kids who are becoming people – people I’m excited to get to know. Welcome to the Silver Years.