A few weeks ago, my five year old son sat down next to me on our living room sofa. I scooped him into my arms like an infant while mentioning how much I missed scooping him up and snuggling him like I did when he was a baby.
“Mommy, I still like it when you snuggle me this way” were the words he whispered back. But after a few moments of silent, cradled snuggles, he looked into my eyes and mentioned how he felt sad for me. How he was sad because now, in our home, all the babies have grown into big kids.
This is a hard truth for me to hear. In this home, my children are babies no longer. It seems as if just yesterday, I was the mom pushing the double stroller and the double basket down the aisles of Costco, leaving a Hansel and Gretel like trail of infant socks, cheerios, and pacis behind us, our chaotic presence soliciting many comments about the fullness of my hands.
In the longest of days and the shortest of years, we have reached this new season where my children are no longer little.
Diapers, sippys, pacis, breastfeeding, and baby food, merely memories on my timehop app.
While I snuggled my grown up, big kid son, his legs and arms overflowing out of my lap, I contemplated this new season of having kids who are no longer little.
I told my son, “I loved you when you were little, but I love you right now too, I will love you in every season. I will love you more and more as you grow.”
As I held my grown child, I thought about the importance of telling my grown kids, how and why I love them where they are right now.
How I see them for who they are becoming, and love them where they are. How being seen and known right where God has them is important and necessary for the hearts of these babies of mine growing into big kids. I thought about how the words I pour over them will help cultivate the soil of the hearts, the soil which will help them grow into the big people they are becoming.
Yes, my children’s hearts are sealed with the permanent love my husband and I have for them, but as my five year old reminded me, the filling inside the seal needs to constantly be refreshed.
So I told that boy, arms and legs overflowing out of my lap, how I loved him when he was little, but I also love him for the five year old boy he is now.
I told him how I love how we can read a book together and I love how we can write stories together in this new season. I told him how I love watching him learn how to throw a Frisbee and ride a bike. How I love watching his imagination explode in a pile of costumes and storylines with his siblings. I told him how I love watching him grow into the uniquely knit together, wonderfully made, human God has made him to be.
Yes, I miss the long snuggles, sometimes the fresh diaper smell, and afternoon naps with a newborn cradled in my arms. But it is so much sweeter to watch the lives God has overflowing in my lap grow and change, and love them as they grow.
Each season is sweet, and in each season my love grows for these four grown up, big kids of mine.
I’m thankful for that five year old, the one who still likes to be held close from time to time, for reminding me how important it is to remind my children of my love for them in each season. To fill their hearts up with the truth that, yes, I loved them when they were little, but it is such a blessing to be alongside them on the journey. It is such a gift to have a front row seat to see the little people God is making them to be.