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Will You Stay Five Forever?

“Will you stay five forever?”

“Ummm…sure. But on my happy birthday I will turn six. How can I stay five?” His brown eyes squinted shut as he giggled in my lap.

I never understood mothers who wished their children would stay small. Watching them grow and learn new things at each stage of life has been enjoyable and rewarding. I’ve never wanted time to slow down. In fact, there were a few seasons I wanted to fast forward through. When the grocery store grannies would stop me with my cartful of children to tell me “the years fly by” and to “treasure them while they are young”, I would smile and nod, but walk away rolling my eyes in disagreement.

I’m not rolling my eyes anymore.

If freezing time were an option, I would pay money to stop Lincoln right now. Five is absolutely my favorite year for him, though I cannot give you a specific reason. More like a bunch of little things wrapped up in 365 days.

For starters, he still adores his mommy and thinks daddy can fix anything. Everything he learns at school is the coolest thing and his teacher is the smartest person on the planet.

Five is when I started to see his talents and abilities emerge. He’s always been a curious kid but watching his creativity bloom has been wonderful. He can’t remember to put dirty clothes in the hamper, but can recall the details of any story you tell him.

At Christmastime he is the poster child for excitement. And he cries huge tears when his little brother kills an insect outside. He is hands down the funniest of all our children, and he doesn’t even try. His wit and humor come naturally and he makes us laugh every single day.

But maybe one of the reasons I want him to stay five is because my father died the year he was born. Every birthday is another year further away from the time I had with my dad. Sometimes when I look at his face, my heart feels both joy and sorrow.

The reality is, I cannot freeze or rewind time. Neither can you. The years will keep coming and we must learn to embrace the changes as they come.

I’m trying to be more intentional about enjoying every part of the journey. Even in the moments that are hard, crazy and exhausting. When there’s puke in the car seat, the bathtub is overflowing and a bowlful of spaghetti gets dropped on the floor. Instead of wishing the hard days away, we can choose to remember them and appreciate the great days even more.

The years really did go quickly for my little man. I blinked and he was walking. Then making up jokes. Now he’s building Lego sets and learning to read.

Soon he’ll be driving away, starting a career, and falling in love. And I’ll be the granny in the store telling young mothers “the years really do fly by”.

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