I discovered thrifting during the time I was pregnant with Captain Alpha.
How I loved going to second-hand stores and sorting through the bins of baby clothes, picking up impossibly tiny onesies and snappy pants. I would hold them up and look at them.
“Aw… So sweet.” My voice would automatically raise up into the Mother range – that coo that is somewhere between a sigh and a squee.
I would put the “keepers” into my basket and pile the rest back in the bin. Occasionally I would find something adorable in a bigger size – 18 months to 2 years – and I would opt to buy it. At the time, I remember thinking ‘It will take FOREVER before he/she will be ready to wear these.’
Little did I know that I would be unpacking those bigger clothes sooner than I would think – or that not long after, I would be packing them away again, outgrown.
I remember looking into what foods I could offer him. He was ready for dry cereal and toast, cubed cheese, and yogurt. Small pieces. No big pieces. The first time he ate a whole grape, I remember my anxiety as I watched him. My brain raced, questioning whether or not I should still be cutting them.
What if he isn’t ready?
He is not ready to play outside by himself.
He is not ready to walk to the store by himself.
He is not ready to make his bed or clean the car or have responsibility.
Until – suddenly – he is.
Little boys become big – so slowly that we become comfortable. We are tricked into thinking that the way things are is the way they will always be. Like the Earth rotating or the sun rising and setting, childhood encourages a state of constants – in our hearts, at least.
But the truth is, we are hurtling through time. They grow and change and are impatient for more.
The progression from tiny fist clutching my finger to singing Wiggles songs to playing Mario Bros. to discussing batting averages seems too short.
“Don’t forget you have a play date this weekend,” I reminded him the other day.
“Mom, could you not call it a ‘play date’? It’s kind of embarrassing,” he told me from the back seat. “You should say ‘hang out.’ That’s better.”
“Sure.” I said. “That makes sense. Sorry.”
He is ready for more.
Time has a way of playing tricks on us. Suddenly the tables turn and it is no longer him that isn’t ready. It is me.
Just like when he was ready for bigger clothes and peanut butter and whole grapes and BIG PIECES, I watch and fret. Not so much with worry – although it is always among my wondering.
I watch with wonder and pride. And dismay. I no longer put things aside with the thought that some future day will never happen. First date, driving, graduation. Instead, I think “before I know it that day will be here.”
Because just when I feel like I’ve got a handle on things, time moves on. And he is ready.
And, sometimes at least, I feel like I am not.
Are your children ready for milestones before you?