My son is growing up and the strangest thing is happening. I can’t cope. I was already having a hard time dealing with the idea of a girlfriend. Then I cleaned house today. In a box I had completely forgotten about were some pictures that I had also forgotten. Among them the smiling three year old face I had almost forgotten too.
How does that happen? It’s simple really. He gets taller and I get used to looking at that. His hair darkens and I get used to that too. The baby fat disappears and somewhere along the way I forgot how much I missed it.
I used to lay awake at night and wonder when he’d stop waking me up because he had a bad dream. Now I lay awake and wonder why he doesn’t do it anymore. He’s starting to look like a young man and it’s killing me.
I can’t tell you how long I’ve been crying now over that little face in those pictures. Or how much my head hurts because of it. I was young when he was born. Hell, I’m still young now. But I feel so old tonight. I’ve worked so many years to make a life and in the process I feel I’ve missed one. His. Like so many women it was necessary for me to work outside the home. Here I am unemployed again (other than my income from writing) and wondering, what’s the use? What has any of it gotten me?
Sure, I helped to pay the bills. But right now as I look at these pictures I can’t remember what it felt like to hold him as a baby. I can’t recall how “little” his voice sounded. We didn’t own a video camera until he was older so my memories are the only way to ever experience those moments again. But my memory tells me how I put work first. How I always needed sleep instead of time to play because I had to go to work early. To a boss who was an asshole while I left my son with my mother.
Maybe every parent feels this way. I don’t know. What I do know is that I would give anything to have those years back.
I guess what it all boils down to is that my son is growing up … and I can’t cope.