The day was winding down and the mess from the party was cleaned up. I no longer had a 4 year old, but a 5 year old. Despite her obvious tiredness, my daughter was still beaming from the day’s festivities. By all means, the day was a success. So why was I so sad? As we were getting ready for bed that night I decided to lay next to the birthday girl until she dozed off. I needed that snuggle to sooth my aching heart. Endless thoughts of ‘where did the time go?’ floated through my head. I was doing my best to emotionally survive my daughter’s 5th birthday.
Why was her 5th birthday so tough on me?
My oldest is 7. I witnessed the transformation he went through at age 5. He was so different by the time his 6th birthday rolled around. He became so independent in that one year. And, now at 7, he is big kid through and through. I swear it happened in a blink of an eye. The little things that tell me he is growing up are daggers to the heart. For example, my clothing choices for him are no longer a-ok. He has real opinions and convictions. Long gone are the days of polos and nice shorts (you know, ones that actually have a button). Now his uniform consists solely of athletic shorts/pants and T-shirts. As we begin the new school year, I will find myself stopping just short of the school playground, allowing him to make the final trek (albeit short) by himself. My little guy is gone & it’s just a matter of time before my little girl will be gone, too.
So, back to my daughter. I feel like a closing to a precious chapter is just a few page turns away. I’m sure it’s not the last time I will feel like this. There will be other milestones that will be bittersweet. All we can do as parents is try our hardest to be present in the moment and hold on tight during this crazy, beautiful ride we call parenthood. Let me know I am not alone. Share the milestones that caused you mixed emotions.