My baby is growing up.
Yes, I've said this before. We moms say this a zillion times a day, I'm sure.
But lately, it's for real. It's actually happening before my eyes.
I don't just mean the growth spurt where my 5 year old is now eating like a 15 year old, I swear that kid has eaten everything we've put in front of him lately!
No, it's more than that.
It's the independence he's exuding in everything he does.
It's how he speaks, words he strings together to make not sentences but paragraphs.
Stories. He's telling his own stories now.
It's in the way that he looks. He's really, truly, super, incredibly tall.
So tall that yesterday at an amusement park he was told he could not ride the kiddie swings. He was too tall.
And he should not ride the beeping trucks and cars that go round and round, but hey, we'll make a pass just this once, you big kid, you. Beeping cars and trucks? My baby boy is too old for that?! When did this happen?!
We've always had this issue, the Tall Syndrome or something.
I'm grateful my husband is 6'3" so my kids are tall like Dad instead of short like me. It's a great thing. However, when you are young and the world sees you as about 2-3 years older than you are, and you start whining or get tired or need to be carried or perhaps want to ride the kiddie rides with your sibling... that's when it gets rough.
Yesterday though I realized this tall thing isn't just about height.
We're entering a whole new territory here of Big Kid-ness.
The bumper boats with an engine and steering wheel and open seating so you could just fall right out - without a life jacket on!?! Well, we stood in line for about 15 minutes to ride those awesome things, with my boy screeching the entire time with delight that he'd get to ride with his Uncle Tom. Huge grins. Huge. So excited.
When it was our turn, the guy had him stand up to the height chart, and there we go again... too tall. So tall he had to ride ALONE. I don't understand the logic, but whatever. It was either let my boy go, let him grow up and be a Big Kid, be out a little farther than I'd like, away from me a little more... or tell my bright blue eyed happy as ever boy that he would have to sit this one out. Um... I chose to grow up a little bit myself in that moment and let him ride alone.
I was terrified. I made sure my own bumper boat was right next to him. I talked to him a few too many times like that annoying mom you all know, "Sit down straight, ok, Bud? Don't lean over so you don't fall out. Be careful. Don't touch that part, it's hot. Be careful. Did you hear me? I'm right here if you need me."
That's the thing... he didn't need me. He was just fine.
Better than fine, he was GREAT.
He learned within a few minutes how to steer. He zoomed circles around me.
He did it. He was fast and ready and excited. Happy and independent.
A Big Kid for sure.
I was worried... that he'd fall out and not swim. That someone would bump too hard into him. That he'd lean over too far with curiosity and topple into the water and someone would run into him. That he'd need me and I would not be close by...
And yet he surprised me. He was OK.
And I was OK. I didn't panic. I didn't get so nervous that I stopped him from having the best time.
I was OK letting him go... and I think the reason is because he didn't go too far. He remained my little man. He came running up to me with a huge grin on his face, asking for a big hug, saying, "I did it, Mom!"
And 5 minutes later he was asking if I wanted him to drive me around on the big Antique cars.
Yes, my boy, I sure do.
A half hour after that he was asking for a hug because he was tired.
A half hour after that he was off and spinning the Teacups ride by himself and I was freaking out again, thinking I should not have let him do that... what if he leans over too far? what if he gets nervous and I'm not right there to calm him? what if, what if?
And he was fine again.
And so was I.
This whole growing up and letting go thing is NOT going to be easy. It's going to be painful I think.
Kindergarten is around the corner. I'm absolutely so nervous about this, even though I know it'll be the greatest adventure we could go on with our son.
But... as hard as this phase will be, it WILL be OK.
We'll get there. Together. Hand in hand, or sometimes just a high five or a look of, "Yes, Mom, I hear you, I'll be careful. I've got this."
Fly, baby. Fly.
Don't go too high or too fast, and always keep your Mama in your sight. I'll be waving and cheering you on as you go.
We've got this.