Monday, June 8, 2009

Polar Opposites

My son took a shower this evening.

Frankly, he didn't need one; he had a bath less than 24 hours ago. He also lacked that briny smell that boys acquire from playing outside in the muggy Southern heat. To you, I'm sure it seems like an unremarkable event to blog about. Except my son is four-and-a-half, and he insisted on taking a shower. He pleaded as though he was asking to stay up past bedtime ; "Please may I take a shower Mommy? PleasePleasePleasePleasePLEEEEEZE!?!?!!?!"

The reason he wanted to take a shower? Well, his sister was taking one. Yet another item to check off my son's list of "Things To Do That The Big Kids Do."

So I explained to him how to enter a shower when it's on (so water doesn't go everywhere) and gave him liquid soap so he could wash himself. It was then that a knot caught in my chest as I placed the bottle within his reach, because the irony was not lost on me that what I was handing him was Baby Wash.

My son wants to grow up so fast. Too fast. And I'm not saying this just because he's my youngest, though I do notice that as he races past every kid-milestone, I realize it's one I won't see again until I'm blessed with grandchildren.

Yes, there may be a few more baths here and there, but I know my son. This phase is almost over. As I listen to the sound of two showers running simultaneously, I start to make a mental inventory of items that won't be needed by the end of the summer: fizzy bath color tablets, bubble bath, tub toys. I'm already mourning the loss. One more innocent piece of childhood gone...

Now don't get me wrong. I in no way miss the baby/toddler stages. As much as I can appreciate the wonder of those years, I would not trade a day of yesterday for today. It just saddens me that my son is in such a hurry to grow up. Slow down; this is not supposed to be a race.

I'm acutely aware of how fast this time passes because my daughter, who in my mind I gave birth to merely a handful of years ago, will be a teenager in a few months. Where the heck did that time go? And, excuse me, how did I get old enough to have one of those?

Although I have a son who wants to be a teenager, I have an almost thirteen-year-old daughter who, ironically, is in no hurry to grow up! And let me tell you, when you have a daughter whose physical developmental hormones have been Super-Sized, it is a blessing indeed!

From the beginning, she's never been in a hurry to grow up. Sometimes she's even resisted; as if she already knew what she was about to lose. I'm not sure why, but she's always been one to do things her own way; never concerned about conforming. I have a theory on why she's not in a hurry to cross the finish line in the race to adulthood; she has an innate understanding of adult life. My husband and I say she was born an old soul. Even in her preschool years, she grasped matters of life with which many adults I know still grapple. It's as though she has a crystal ball and can see mortgages and mammograms in her future. Like she's saying, "No thanks, I'll walk. Let the bullet-train pass."

So having been given these two totally different children, I sometimes can sit back and appreciate their differences, as well as the privilege of getting to parent two opposite people. And of course I have to smile. Because the one that's in a hurry to grow up, adamantly requesting styling-gel before his hair dries, is wearing Cars jammies and Spider-Man slippers, while the other that's in no hurry, having the shape of a college co-ed and verbally cursing her endowments, wants to hang out with her mom, not chat online with her BFF's or obsess about boys.

Tortoise and Hare. Who'll cross first? I just hope they both win.


  1. This made me cry. It's amazing how fast this time is passing.

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