Parenting; it should come with a health warning.
The emotional impact of those seemingly inconsequential moments are enough to break even the hardest of hearts.
We’ve had lots of firsts and lasts with our twins; first cuddle and last bottle feed. First 3am wake up and last pick up out the cot. First Christmas and last milk tooth coming through. First steps and last day before entering the education system. First solid food and the last time they use a sippy cup, the list goes on.
These are all firsts and lasts which we expected and in some way looked forward to.
But alongside these moments are some which perhaps we, I, never thought of, although in hindsight I should have expected them.
They seem to come thick and fast now, when I least expect them and I am slayed by their emotional impact.
When they tell me they no longer need to hold my hand walking down the street I’m struck with the realisation that they no longer need to have my physical presence to feel safe. They’re content to run off and leave me behind; longing for the days when my hands would clasp theirs tightly.
Whilst my heart stutters in fear whenever they round a corner out my sight, their off on another adventure, with no knowledge of the heartbreak they’ve unleashed.
This afternoon as I placed their dinner at the table we had another last. Ahren looked at his Thomas the Tank Engine fork, which he was so excited to receive years ago along with its matching knife, spoon, plate and bowl. For him, and us, they marked the beginning of yet another stage, a boy who was now able to feed himself no longer relying on his mama and dada to feed him.
But he as he looked at his fork, he held it out to me and said “I’m a big boy now, I need a big boy fork”
As I took the fork and exchanged it for regular fork, it hit me.
The days where my babies are even remotely baby or toddler like are well and truly over.
It’s something I knew would happen, and with them being 6 I guess I was lucky to hold on to it for so long. But it hurts, oh how it hurts to acknowledge that these two young boys are growing up and away.
It’s a bittersweet realisation, which I seem to have more often than I like, that their dependence on me decreases as their confidence in themselves grows. It means I’m not totally messing up this whole parenting malarkey, which can only be a good thing, I just wish someone could tell me how to deal with all the heart-breaking moments.
Standing here looking longingly at a poxy Thomas the Tank Engine fork, fighting back tears was nowhere in the parenting manual.