We went for a hike yesterday afternoon. It was a lovely day, a well known trail. Top of the aptly named Mountain Avenue, long fire road that can take you for miles and miles if that is what you want.
Yesterday we went up with our boys, no stroller. We have done it before and had to turn around after the first big hill. This time was different. Slow, yes. Water stops for Mace every 15 seconds or so (he seems to love sucking on the Camelbak tube, reminders of bottle days?). There were a few complaints and carrying for a minute or two. But it was a hike.
Mace asked if we could climb the 'yoop' trail so we did, up a steeper single track to a singular view of our valley. Blue blue, green green, dusty rocky brown trail. And the boys were such boys. They were talking and laughing and pulling out some sass. They were watching stink beetles and sticky spiky caterpillars and making the occasional poop and pee remark. And all of a sudden it struck me hard how much they are going, growing, going.
This month they turn 4 ... a few weeks away. I don't know why but I feel like I am losing that last bit of baby, watching them turn total boy on me. I know that they have not been babies for a long long time but now it feels solid, irrevocable. Boys. They can walk the trail without a stroller, handle dressing and potty time and navigating via their makeshift maps.
I don't talk about them much here anymore, certainly not in the ways of past. Not weekly, monthly, hourly even though they are all things to me that they have been. I do not take pictures of their school art often, throw away a good portion of it. I wonder sometimes if I will regret that piece of paper I tossed that they carefully (and not so carefully) painted/glued/scribbled/cut. I do still marvel as their abilities add up, it is just harder to find the time to write it down.
So back to the turning 4. It is freaking me out. It is like a repeat of my freaking out when I turned 35 last year. So I think I just have to let it go. Cuddle them, listen seriously to them, do increasingly more difficult puzzles with them, correct them as we read books and they hit or miss guess at some of the letters, then cuddle them again if they let me.
I don't want to be that mom that mourns the loss of her babies over and over. I want to be present and a mom to the little people that they are becoming. But I will admit to that twinge in my belly, that little bit of sadness I felt as I watched and listened and observed them yesterday on the trail. And coming to the realization that this is parenting ... learning to let go in little and big ways. I may have realized this before in the last almost 4 years but I have a feeling that it will feel new every time it comes ...
I was wondering why I still come to this place to blog. Sometimes it feels as if I toss bits of dribble and dross here and hope for the best. But then there is this feeling and I am glad I have a place to put it.
Today? I put them in the stroller and we walked to the market and taco 'store' and I pushed them both and listened to their chatter and felt better because they are still mine, boys, yes, but most importantly mine.
Your mama loves you, boys. So very very much.