August is a huge month around here. Smack at the end of the summer, when the grass is beginning to dull into grey or brown (although this year, rain is helping keep it going!) and we are all feeling the doldrums a bit, lots of fun things happen for our family. Mostly to the older 2 boys… but more about that later this month.
The doldrums come to parenting as well I think. Gone are the days of cute tiny outfits and wee diapers…now we have smelly clothes strewn about the place, and active discussions about what can be worn… the daily excitement of new words is history…now we have the daily “DID I JUST HEAR YOU SAY ______ ?”…the waiting for rolling over and walking and first teeth, is over. The milestones now are much more subtle, and you can miss them if you blink. And sometimes the milestones now just make you sad, because they are signs of the great letting go and letting fly away process you forget about when you are incubating that tiny person.
Today though was a milestone day for my baby though. I have been a bit weepy about the milestones ahead of us, and I have been cleaning out lots of small gear and such now that babyland has really passed us by and become a distant and sweet dream. I have been focusing on the milestones coming this month, and getting ready for back to work and back to school, and I had forgot to focus on my youngest 5 and 3/4 year old son.
A trip to the library was planned. The last one probably for a while. Seems library trips get lost when I am working, unless there is something to research for the kids school. Taking my small children to the library was one of my keenest pleasures as a SAHM… going for story time, choosing books, sitting on the rug and reading them right there in the library…After three children the story time does pale a bit, but we attended them this summer, and I really enjoyed being able to be home to take them all to the various tween time and nature programs for the older kids.
As we walked up the stairs to the library today, my youngest said very wistfully, “I wish I had a library card.”
I had forgotten about that milestone. My younger 2 got their library cards about age 5 or 6, and mostly because I was excited for them to have one. And here it was within my power to grant my baby a wish that in his eyes, would make him seem very grown up. So I looked at him and said “I think today is the perfect day.”
We walked to the main counter while the brothers looked at books. We filled out the form and he worried about everything as the librarian keyed it in. Would it have his name on it? Would it really check out books? Would it cost anything? etc. etc. IN the end he got a brand spanking new piece of blue plastic that allows him to check out 10 books at a time. He is sooo proud.
SO then we looked at the books and selected 5 (my limit..afterall, it is 5 times 4 which is 20 books floating around the house to keep track of, LOL!) and then he strutted up to the librarian and handed him the books. I had to remind him to hand over the card too… he seemed afraid to do so, like it might be taken back and vanish. But he checked out his books then handed me the card to keep in my wallet, and talked all the way home about how good the books he checked out were, with HIS card. I am sure we will parade the card for Dad this evening.
It was a small milestone as milestone go, but it was important to me. It reminded me there are still lots of things ahead, lots of special moments. I know he will never forget the day he got his card because it was his wish, his hearts desire, filled at the moment it was spoken. Rarely do I get to or choose to do that with my kids..so it was fun for me as well.
They are growing up so fast, and I am mainly a caretaker now in many ways. They need me though, and that I have to remember. I may not be there be all/end all anymore.. they can get their own snacks and dress and entertain themselves…but I am there when it counts. And there when the milestones happen, as much as I can be.