Dinner Date

Every Tuesday night one of my best friends and I meet for supper – with kids in tow. It’s a great chance for us to catch up over chips and salsa while the children work diligently to see who can spill the most queso dip all over the table.

It’s fun. You should join us.

Last week my friend NK’s younger child needed a nap more than she needed to eat out, so they had to cancel. I decided that it would be fun for Alex and me to still go to dinner together, so we headed to a neighborhood deli for a little mama / son date night. The atmosphere might not be so great, but I knew the company would more than make up for it.

Once Alex had his cheese pizza and I had my salad, we started covering some of his favorite conversational topics: friends, Mickey Mouse, monsters, VERY VERY BIG MONSTERS, and SCARY! GIANT! MONSTERS! THAT GO! RARRRRRRRRR!

Eventually Alex decided that he was more interested in eating than talking, and I found myself staring at the little man as he devoured his pizza, wondering what he will look like when he’s older. And it occurred to me, as I watched him, that he’s going to grow up, and I cannot stop the process.

Before I knew what hit me, my eyes filled with tears. All I could think about was how the little man’s cheeks are thinner by the day, how his ankles are now slim and defined, how his calves have muscles instead of squishy rolls of baby softness. And with everything in me, I wanted to stand up in my chair and say: PEOPLE, WHAT IS UP WITH NOT BEING ABLE TO STOP THE CHILDREN FROM GROWING UP? IT MAKES ME VERY SAD.

You should probably keep in mind that I’m the same person who cried when I filled out a form for Alex’s Mother’s Day Out last week, because it’s the last form I’ll ever fill out for MDO since he starts preschool at a different place this fall, and clearly I am far too emotional and unstable to be a voice of reason in terms of this whole children-growing-up thing, and perhaps I should look into a prescription for a light nerve pill of some sort.

Anyway.

When I finally composed myself at the dinner table, I decided, right there on the spot, that since I don’t have the superhuman power of stopping time (sadly, I can only melt steel with my eyes and create wind where there once was none), I might as well embrace the fact that Alex can’t stay four forever. So I turned to him, determined to look his future square in the eye, and said, “Alex? What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Without missing a beat, he said, “Oh. A fireman.”

We talked about firemen for a couple of minutes, and then Alex grabbed my hand mid-sentence, looked straight in my eyes, and said, “Hold on, Mama. Just a minute, Mama. Hold on.”

“What is it?” I replied.

“Mama? Well, Mama? I just want to be Alex when I grow up. I just want to be Alex, Mama.”

And the tears, they started again.

I have no idea what Alex will look like when he’s older. I don’t know what he’ll do for a living, who he’ll marry, or where he’ll live.

But I do know one thing.

If, above all, he can “just be Alex” as he makes his way through different ages and stages?

Well, I think that’s the very best plan for the future that I’ve ever heard.

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Comments

  1. I’ve been going through the same thing with my boys, my oldest is 17 and while my age doesn’t bother me, his does, there is no way my smiley, chubby cheeked toddler has grown into this broad shouldered man that stands before me today….

  2. If he can spend the rest of his life being okay with being “Just Alex”, you’ve done a better job than most parents, and he’s better prepared to be whatever God has planned for him to be.

  3. A very fine life choice indeed.

  4. That is sweet. We had to go check out a nursery school for Cerys, she’s only 2 1/2 but they start at 4 here and there is a waiting list to get in to some schools…so we walked up there on Friday and looked at it and my eyes welled up as soon as we walked in. My husband just rolled his eyes at me. :) But they are so young!!!! And they grow so fast!!!

  5. My little one is only 18 months old, and I’m trying to figure out how to keep her small.

    Great post…

  6. ((boomama)) huggin you and knowin what youre going thru. But you are doing an awesome job :) Just Alex is the best thing for any of our kids to be. xoxo melzie

  7. I love to hear of other moms having date nights with their boys. My son loves it when I take him out and we sit and chat…I learn so much about monsters too!!!
    And I am with viscountess also – God will call him to do some big stuff one day and when that happens, he will be confident in who God created him to be and that will be more than enough to trust Him.

  8. My son is 13. The past year especially has brought so many physical changes in him. I’m sad to see my little boy slip away but it has been so rewarding to watch this incredible young man appear.

  9. My daughter is 16 months and I get the same flashes as you. It’s fiercely frightening. Just now I laid her down for her nap and she held on tight with both arms in a hug (not in defiance to her nap!) and I said, “Promise to always want to hug me!” *sigh* My tears are right there with ya. Extra hugs to Alex today!

  10. This was so sweet. They do grow up way too fast. I love reading your blog. This is my first time posting but I’m always checking your blog. Thanks for sharing! God bless!

  11. Doesn’t it go by just way too fast?! Painful, I know. I weeped yesterday as my Doodles wrapped up kindergarten.

    I hope and pray that my kiddos will embrace your sweet boy’s ambitions to just be ME.

    LOVE. IT.

  12. It made me teary-eyed reading about it. My son is almost 15 mo. I’d love to keep him small…just ain’t figured out how yet.

    It’s so sweet: he just wants to be Alex! Sounds like a wonderful thing……

  13. awww..it is so hard. watching my oldest go to Jr prom this past weekend, almost did me in. I can’t imagine how I’ll be when he graduates, or when it’s the youngest’s turn. I may need more than a little nerve pill.

  14. Tears, too…aren’t little boys the sweetest? I have boys 3, almost 4, and a 9. It seems that there are moments, like yours, when they just say the right thing for a Mama’s heart. Yep, they do!
    Love ya! Holly

  15. I just went through something similar in signing off on my 17 year olds options sheets for grade 12. It hit me this is the last time I’ll be signing school forms for her for option choices. Where had the time gone?!! I’ve always wished we were granted a day or two for each child a year that we could just have them small again so that we could relive those times. Not that I don’t like the times now with them,because I’ve enjoyed every stage, but there is just something about the squishyness and innocence of the preschool years that would be nice to revisit

  16. :-( THAT ABSOLUTELY BREAKS MY HEART!! A. is oh-so sweet!! LOVE HIM!!!

  17. We must be on the same bloggy wavelength because I just wrote about the. very. same. thing. My oldest will be 8 soon, and yesteray I peeked in her room and I saw her lying on her bed, on her stomach with her legs up and crossed at the ankles behind her, reading a magazine and twirling her hair around her finger. I suddenly saw her as a teenager and it near about broke me!

  18. What a smart little man. I wish that I could sometimes “just be Amanda” but as an adult, you sometimes lose sight of just being yourself.

    I need to work on that.

  19. hmm..i’m betting when he grows up he’ll be consuming a lot more pizza than he did that night–and that may give you another reason to yearn to keep him little ;)

  20. Something tells me that just being Alex is going to be more than plenty.

    And if you figure out how to keep them little, let me know.

  21. Um, so this “wind where there once was none” comment cracked me up but just the part that thinks I’m still 12 so please don’t pay any mind. It just made me giggle like a school girl, that’s all.

    And now I should prolly delete this since you think I am a psycho bloggy stranger.

    besides that little side bar of funnyness, I totally got your point and understand. My 20 month old already talks in pretty much complete sentences already.

  22. Ah, bless his heart! Sweet little man!!!

    And sign me up for the lifetime supply of nerve pills, thank-you-very-much. I think we’re in for a bumpy ride! :D

  23. From time to time I’ll look at my oldest (7 YO) and tell him, “OldMan, just stop growing up! I just can’t bear it.” And he always responds, “Don’t worry mom. When I get older me, my wife and 3 kids will come live with you so you don’t have to be without me.” Oh…great…joy.

  24. mikki roo says:

    Awwww… I know exactly your feelings; when I look at ds who’s almost 4, I can’t believe so much time has passed since I first became a mom… And I wonder so often who he’ll be when he grows up! That is so sweet – you need to write it down and give it to him when he’s “grown up”!

  25. I am going through the exact same thing with my 4 year old. I can’t believe I only have one more year with him before kindergarten. My son, too, wants to be a fireman, but right now his main goal is to marry ME! HA!

  26. I know what you mean… I almost had a meltdown the other day when I realized I had an almost 6 year old! Where in the world does the time go??

  27. Jonathan shaved his upper lip for the first time Sunday night. I bawled.

  28. Amy T says:

    My boy is 8 and this brought tears to my eyes, too! So smart and wise one moment and so young the next. How sweet. Make me want to go pick him up from school and hug him!

  29. You’re killin’ me. I know exactly how you feel. My six year old just discovered his first tooth. My eight year old (I’m blogging about it tomorrow) got his first phone call from a girl.

    It HURTS.

  30. Are you kidding me? Did you HAVE to make me cry today? :)

  31. Hey Boo Mama,
    I have a not so little 4 year old too and I know exactly what you mean. It hit me when he’s suddenly developed a social life (what’s one of those?) He says “Just going round Joel’s Mum, alright?” He even went to the cinema the other day to see Spiderman 3 with some friends, I was really worried that he would be scared of the baddies and want me to comfort him… did he? No way!
    Sob, sob… think I need chocolate to console me!
    Thanks Boo Mama,
    Del
    http://www.peteanddel.blogspot.com/

  32. Why you gotta do this to a pregnant mama whose two year old is daily getting longer and skinnier?! *sniff sniff*

  33. Tears welling up in Central Texas! My first grandson, 5, loves his Emmie, and told me his heart breaks when I leave. He promised to hold my hand in the mall when he’s 14, to prove his love for me will never die (like there will be MALLS then!). He starts school in August. I understand…. Precious boys.

  34. If you miss those squishy baby thighs…you could always have another one, you know.

  35. A beautiful post!!

  36. AHHH! How sweet is that!? : )
    Great plan little man!

  37. Ahhhh BooMama. There is such pain involved in raising children. The thing is, though, that I think God wanted us to know a bit about what He feels when we grow. I once read a joke that I thought was rather funny, that sort of pertains to this.

    Why did God invent teenagers?

    So that parents would know what it feels like when your children think they know more than you do, and deny your very existence.

    Okay, maybe that’s not nearly as funny as it seemed when I originally read it. But that may well be that I’m still so tired from PG’s surgery yesterday to fix it so he doesn’t have a hole in the roof of his mouth anymore.

    As for the whole 28 days thing. I think it’s for small things like cracking your knuckles (guilty), saying cuss words or eating too much salt. I’m sorry, but chocolate is just one of those things you can’t go without for 28 days and expect to not want it after that. LOL! Ta for now dahling!

  38. Dear me! Were you trying to make me cry? It worked. I feel the same way. Sad that they are leaving “babydom” but joyful that they are growing up. What fickle people we women are….:-)

  39. suzanne says:

    What a sweetie…I am emailing you a poem that sums it up!

  40. We are kindred spirits, Boomama.
    Yesterday I was doing the whole “cleaning out the dressers for a new season” thing and I started crying because another season had passed and my kids are bigger and older and I can’t stop it.

    And then I saw that Penney’s commercial where the mom and daughter are walking down the sidewalk and she keeps growing up, and then she’s all grown up with a little girl of her own and the grandmother comes out and holds the little girl’s hand. Weepy, I tell you!

  41. I just fought back tears when the Baby Joey was rescued on Wonder Pets. So if you find a good light nerve pill let me know.

  42. Precious :)

    When I see the elem. school where cp will go this fall, I get a little weepy. And since I can see it from my backyard, that happens a lot!

  43. So sweet, and a wonderful plan for the future.

  44. Exactly how is it that just one mom and son can have soooo many stinkin’ cute stories? I mean really? My kids just poot and pick their noses and ya’ll really just don’t want to know about that!

  45. What a cutie. Time does go by too quickly. I cannot believe my oldest son is 10 1/2 and almost as tall as I am!

  46. My very first baby, the one that taught me how to be a Mama, will be turning 16 this summer, and learning to drive.

    He is taller than I am and quite the hansom gentleman and all around cool teen,(just ask the girls in his youth group).

    But, I still remember him slurping spaghetti for the first time, in his diaper.

    My little baby with spaghetti in his hair is about to drive away from me.

    It all happened so very fast.

    Really, there should be a pill for this!

  47. Cinde James says:

    Oh – I feel the pain! My sweet chubby cheeked child is now 14 years old and over 6 feet tall! He shaves and has hairy man legs! It seems this metamorphosis happens overnight – in a blink of an eye they are grown and you are looking up at them instead of bending down. He still loves his mama though just like Alex will still love you when he has hairy man legs! Savor every precious moment…

  48. Kelly Anne says:

    You are not alone in your super power of creating wind where there was none…My husband can do that, too!!

    This post hits very close to home for me, so I had to focus on the funny!!

  49. That is so sweet!

    Mine is now 16 almost 17 and he still has that same sweet face and those twinkly blue eyes that have always melted my heart.

    They grow up too fast! Enjoy every single moment!

  50. Wow.

    Did this ever make me feel better about my little guy growing up before my eyes (while I look everywhere for the remote so I can press the pause button).

    He’ll still be my Nicknack, and how great is that? It doesn’t get any better.

    Thank you.

  51. My Ben will be turning 5 in July and I’m amazed at how he is growing up so quickly. Like you I just want to stop time yet I’m so excited to see what the Lord is going to do with this wondeful boy He has given me. Ben says he wants to be a teacher when he grows up. When I ask if he wants to be a English teacher like daddy he says “No, I want to teach people about Jesus, just like daddy” (my husband is also a jr high youth pastor).

    Is there anything better? I can so relate to what you are saying!

  52. Well guess who’s tearing up now too???? You just have a way of summing it all up. I stood just this morning looking at my son as he slept. He is 4 days shy of his 12th birthday. How did that happen? There he was long limbs tangled up in his blankets, gone the sweet smell of baby powder and cream, room covered in posters. But despite it all I could still trace on his innocent sleeping face, the remains of his small bear sweetness. Then he woke up farted and growled and the illusion was shattered. Oh yeah, pre-teen years, let the good times roll. Sigh.

  53. I had three daughters and made the phrase “It’s ok if I never have a son” my daily mantra for 7 years. And then we had our boy. I loooove my girls, and I think my 13yr old daughter is one of my best friends, but really, there’s nothing like a little man to love on! Sons are just that little bit of something special to a momma’s heart! Loved this story!

  54. One of your best Mommy posts ever. Hands down.

    :>)

  55. What a tender, sweet post.

    I hope that you’re printing out all of your Alex posts and placing them into a binder. Your little man would cherish them.

  56. Cathy says:

    A few months back, our pediatrician –who has “mothered this mother” safely through 3 newborns, 1 eye surgery, a broken collarbone, a broken leg, school anxiety, and all the usual bugs and such — informed me he was retiring.

    I started weeping right then and there in the Sesame Street Room. How could I explain my bond with him with all those memories crashing in on me all at once? His caring eyes seemed to say to me “I’ve led you long enough down this fast moving river, and you can do it on your own. You can continue on without me, Cathy.”

    Funny how a boy eating pizza, a special celebration, or even a retiring pediatrician can stir emotions in the heart of a mother that defy adequate language.

    Thanks for sharing.

  57. Right there with you.

    Now about your comment, um I’m not entirely sure that creating wind where there once was none is a superhuman power, I’d say in fact that it is quite normal. :)

  58. Lisa D. says:

    Oh BooMama! What a kindred spirit you are. Let me tell you, my oldest (my daugher) was graduating from kindergarten this time last year and it was such a bittersweet thing. We were really going to have a new chapter opening….and I emphasize the WE in that sentence! She was going from a church-based, 1/2 day kindergarten to public school, which she started last fall. Let me tell you, the last day I dropped her off at kindergarten I drove to the nearest Starbucks in sobbing tears. You know the good ‘ol ugly cry where you can’t breathe well and your face splotches up? Well, somehow I got my order out, but by the time I got to the window I was a melting mess of something! Oh my word, the lady at Starbucks gave me my coffee for free and I know to this day she thinks I had some terrible, terrible news like illness, divorce, etc. Rest assured, Starbucks lady, it was just this mama feeling the growing pains of her firstborn! Happy Mother’s Day, my blogging friend.

  59. Bailey's Leaf says:

    If it makes you feel any better, I cried when I filled out the preschool info for my daughter, K! I told my husband that I’m going to be the crazy mom running after the big yellow school bus screaming, “Not my baby! Don’t take my baby!” I also find myself incredibly weepy when watching the children at church perform, because I know that soon and very soon, K will be doing the same. This growing up thing is going to kill me. Get a double on the light nerve pill.

  60. I am a new reader to your blog and…

    This post made me cry! I have a little boy who will turn 4 this summer and I was thinking the same things today as I watched him run around with his friends. I wish I could freeze time somedays and just hold him…

    Off to get some tissues!

  61. When I go back and look at my son’s (or daughters’) photos, and look at them now, I can see their older faces in the young ones, but I couldn’t then. I think that’s the grace of God. When they’re 6’3″, married, grown, you T.R.Y. to think they’re all grown up, but somewhere deep inside you, they are still just your little boy, the one with the scabby knees, and lips that pucker out when they’re sleeping after a long day of playing. xoxoxo

  62. What an incredibly sweet post! Alex is so very fortunate to have a mom who notices and appreciates all these precious moments.

  63. This is so sweet!! The way you describe how you feel about your son growing up- boy, can I relate!!! And how he answers you!! Priceless!!!

    Such a lovely post!!

    His,
    Mrs. U- who is sad thinking about HER baby growing up one day… :(

  64. Thanks alot for the big snot fest at my ‘puter. Without Kleenex. Swell!
    Yep, I’m one of those crying “it hurts to see them grow” mommas too. Just a few days ago while shopping, I told (yes i actually TOLD) my Reece I wanted him to stay little forever. His gentle response? “No, momma, ’cause I want to marry my wife and have my kids someday.”
    See, Reece doesn’t have career goals as yet. But he is very clear on wanting to be a husband and father (which chokes me up all the more). I need to go wipe the snot now. Here’s a similar convo I had with my little man.
    http://inthemidstofthisseason.blogspot.com/2007/02/im-not-much-of-long-term-planner.html
    Blessings,
    ~Toni~

  65. OH, the tears are rolling down my cheeks!!! Why can’t they stay little forever? :-(

    That little Alex is wise beyond his years, honestly.

    The tears are still flowing…. :-(

  66. BooMama, thanks for sharing your Alex & mama moments. They touch my heart. I have these same kinds of moments with my 5 year old boy. The last of my babies, I’m finally able to slow down and enjoy these special precious times. And I’m asking God, “Oh please Lord, sear these memories in my mind, on my heart.”

  67. My baby is 5 and she lost her first tooth last night and I JUST CAN’T STAND IT! She can’t be going to “kindeegarden” in the fall y’all, she’s just a baby. My oldest is 12 and just made the jr high cheerleading squad which makes me want to puke. My boss said “You know, miss hunter, every guy wants to date a cheerleader…” If looks could kill he would be scattered ashes! It just happens at warp speed, they go from drooling on your shoulder to drooling over boys and clothes. MAKE IT STOP or slow it down to a crawl…sigh.

  68. Hi. :) I just wanted to say that I totally relate I wish time could stop. I want to freeze time- and hold on to the warm squishies that they give. Wouldn’t it be nice???? The only thing I can reccomend, is to photograph the H-E- double hockey sticks outta them. I have over 9,000 photos of my sweet Paisley, and she is only 22 months! :) take photos of them sleeping, eating ,crying, playing, yelling…. it is (for now) the ONLY thing that can stop time, for a second. *and if you do it enough, like me- you’l be able to freeze all of it! ;)

    Also- on a happier note- I just wanted to thank you for inspiring me to write more. I LOVE reading your Blog- and it makes my day! :)

  69. OOOPs- i put two websites as my contact me….. try this:

    http://www.mermaidcrossing.blogspt.com

    or

    http://www.kalynphotography.com

  70. miss sunshine says:

    Now I’m crying. Probably not a good thing to do in the office… :) My little one is 16 months old and I already find him HUGE! And it breaks my heart. I don’t want to think about him being 4yo or 15yo! Aaaaaaaaaaaahhh!!!!! Still crying! (Tears rolling and all – that’s nice!)Gotta stop! (By the way, I’m a frequent visitor – love your blog!)

  71. Tears!! This one brought tears to my eyes. I have the exact same issue with my youngest child, who is 4. I keep telling her to stop growing and she’ll laugh every time and say “I have to grow, Mama!” It.is.so.hard. I completely understand every bit of heartache over having your children grow up. The one consolation I have is that as they grow, the conversations grow deeper and bigger and much more interesting, and it is awfully fun to have meaningful conversations with your own children.

    SNIFF.

  72. Just for ONE DAY, I’d like to read one of your posts and not bust a gut laughing or ruin my make up crying. Is that too much to ask? Must be. :)

    You are such a blessing, Boomama!

  73. That is such a touching story. I am sad, also. My oldest daughter is graduating from high shcool in two weeks and it is killing me.

  74. we should all be so wise…

  75. Just wanted to let you know I linked this post on my blog today. It really grabbed my heart. Thank you for sharing it!

    ~TaunaLen