This past week was a busy one. Archie, my wily, little tough guy turned two and Oliver, my tender-hearted softie turned five. It was a week full of streamers and wrapping paper and Ninja Turtle cut outs and lots and lots of frosting. It was fun and carefree and silly and gut-wrenchingly bittersweet.
Maybe it was because last year at this time, I was up to my elbows in breastmilk and a new job and a totally unexpected ice storm, but I don’t think I felt quite so pained at the rapid advancement of my children’s age. Last year, I was completely ready to take on the world with a one-year-old and a four-year-old. I felt ready for that phase of life. But this year, this year I cried big, fat crocodile tears as I put Archie to bed on his birthday eve.
While we cuddled together with his blankie, he asked me, “We talk…one more minute… in wock-ing chair?”
And so we did.
We talked for a lot of one-more-minutes in his rocking chair. And then a lot more one-more-minutes while I held him tight, standing in the dark next to his crib. We talked about how he hit the baseball “so hard” in the backyard. We talked about that time we walked across a bridge at our playgroup and threw sticks in the water. We talked about every ounce of minutia that his little mind could dredge up, to delay the inevitability of bedtime.
Because it’s not every night that you have an almost-two-year-old. And it’s not every night that you feel like you might be on the cusp of choosing if this is your last almost-two-year-old.
It was sad. And I was sad. And so I cried, because that’s what I do. But then Archie woke up the next morning, and I again had this wily, little, two-year-old tough guy making me laugh as he ran amok in my house. And as I watched him crash, full-speed into the wall on his new balance bike, I remembered that nothing is decided yet – nothing is final. Maybe he will be my last toddler, and if he is, that’s okay. Mourning something that was or is yet to be, does me no good right now – and right now, I have a healthy, happy, wild child, who is just about to wake up from his nap.
Lest you think I am too zen for my own good, these exact same events unfolded in almost identical fashion, two nights later, on the eve of Oliver’s 5th birthday.