letting them grow bit by bit

once there was a baby who grew up into a toddler.  who grew up into a five year old child.  but that baby came and needed the mom so much.  in her arms so often.  it was magical.  it was endless.  it was scary.  it was bit by bit.  day by day.  and in the middle of that, along came another baby.  and that baby too needed the same.  but she gave to both.  gave and gave and gave.  bit by bit.  day by day.  and while the mama gave, the babies, they grew.  

they grew and they grew until they went off to school.  the older child entered into a world of "big kid school" with rules and schedules and weekly assemblies and gym.  the younger child knew she wanted school--a place of her own, to make friends too.  

the mother had a hard time letting them go to school even though she was tired, but not tired of them.  she prayed a prayer asking God to keep them safe and she entrusted these precious ones into His hands every day.  bit by bit.

to the mother's wonderful surprise, the children loved their schools.  they loved their teachers and they loved their classmates.  and surprisingly, the mother loved drinking her coffee in one sitting.  she loved getting groceries on her time.  but more then anything, she LOVED picking these children up from school and seeing their beautiful smiles.  she hugged them and kissed them and asked them, "tell me about a time today where you felt loved?"  "who did you sit by for lunch?"  and other such questions to learn more about their day.  about them.

and while these children went to their schools, the mom got to know other moms and the children had play dates outside of school time.  they made friends.  some very sweet, friends:  english, egyptian, qatari, canadian, indian, australian, brazilian.  and that made the mom very happy too.

the dad and the mom took turns participating in their childrens' schools.  they got to know the wonderful teachers and the names of the children in the class.  the mom and the dad took time to listen to their older child practice her reading.  they took time to hear their little child sing her abc's.  they took the time.

but the time is all ready coming to an end.  there will be farewells today for the younger child who will move on to the building for older children, next year.  she will have different friends and perhaps a different teacher.  she will not be considered a younger toddler in the fall.  she will be known as an older toddler.  maybe even an older toddler who can use the potty on her own.  and the days the mommy and child spent together in the still of the mornings, just the two of them, were invaluable.  it was a secret world for the two of them, full of sweet words and kisses.  the mommy will cry because she has a mothering heart who is both happy that this lovely child has learned so much and because she has grown.  but she will also cry because this lovely child has grown all too quickly.  not that she yearns for those days when this child was a baby (and oh so needy), but she reminds herself not to wish this away.  and she reminds herself there is so much more wonder and enchantment to come with this one.

and the time will come to say good-bye to the older child's class and her teachers.  and the mother knows this good-bye is much heavier and more final.  it means that this dear child proved the impossible (or what seemed like it would be):  she asked to go to school, even though the mother was apprehensive, and she enjoyed it!  this child filled their lives with surprises:  writing her name, reading on her own, counting higher and higher, making best friends and being a best friend, memorizing poems, and being delighted in by her teachers.  and the mom will cry at the amazement of how this four year old became a five year old.  and the mom will cry because these 9 months have been full and yet empty--not completely knowing what this child did in her day and wondering if it was all good.  the challenges shape us, and she was being shaped.  the mother did not wish the time away, but does wish for more time with her this child too.  the mom and the child talk about the next year, planning for school at home. so this good-bye comes with a bit more emotion because the mother is so thankful the little girl was brave enough and strong enough to assure the mother that she was capable.  the mother never doubted, but was so pleased.  so proud.  her daughter blossomed and became more of who she really is.  and even though the mother kissed that dear face every day, now she kisses it and remarks, "oh, there you are.  i see you now."  because the child was becoming her own self:  separate and yet entwined in the mom and dad.  and the mom and dad knew how much of a joy it was to be a part of that, to see it.  and it filled their hearts with so much happiness.

this change of time is a bit hard on the mother's heart.  she knows her children do not feel this exact way.  they are excited about lays ahead, undaunted, and unalarmed at their own growth.  they expect it.  they can not see what the mommy and daddy see:  that even though it is only a change of time that happens all bit by bit, it will never be given back to them.  so we find the courage to say:  how amazing!  how remarkable!  how precious!  now forward into the Light!

the mom and the dad see the softening of their own hearts as they get filled with emotions of sorrow and joy when these milestones come to an end.  but that is what makes the mom and dad {real}.  and they know that they'll never get back these 'bits by bits', but those continue to add up to the {real}ness of their beautiful children, so they allow it to be.  they know it is only a change of time, love.  of time, bit by bit.