I always thought it would be the big, noticeable things with my kids that would mark the time passing for me. You know, birthdays, lost teeth, school starting.
It certainly is the big things that make me notice the time passing with my friends and family. She lost her tooth? Can you believe you have a seven year old? She's old enough to be in school already?
But with my children, the big things haven't fazed me yet. It's the little things that make me pause, startle, and sometimes tear up a little bit.
Like the moment a few months ago when I took Hannah to get some new shoes. There was a small selection and the only choices she had in the kind of shoe we were going for (fancy shoes) were sparkly Disney labeled shoes or sweet, grown-up ballet shoes. Now I really dislike branded clothing, but for half a second I caught myself hoping that she'd pick the glittery shoes and stay so young just a bit longer. She chose the ballet shoes. I was very happy about it, once the decision was made, but for me it marked the ending of a period in her life.
And there was the moment a few weeks ago when I realized that my three year old was running to the bathroom with her pants pulled up. Not something *you'd* notice if you were visiting, but for me, it was a big deal. See, I've been trying to convince her for six months that when she realizes that she needs to go to the bathroom so bad, it would be more efficient to run to the bathroom and *then* pull down her pants instead of immediately pulling them down to her ankles and running to the bathroom (at full speed, no less) like that.
Oh, and the moment yesterday when I was chasing my 18 month old around the house, tickling him and he was giggling that hysterical happy-baby-giggle so hard and I startled a big boy laugh out of him. He didn't understand why I stopped chasing him and it took me a second to understand it myself.
Changes that are small are the sweetest and most telling.
Sometimes they're not so sweet, though. I turned 32 this year and didn't even notice. Age is just a number and all that. I'm enjoying my thirties more than any other stage in my life. And then yesterday a kinda hot guy in his early twenties almost ran into me in the store. He said "Excuse me, ma'am." Did you get that? He said "Excuse me, ma'am." I think that at this point I should call him 'a nice young man' instead of 'a kinda hot guy.' *sigh*
It's the little things.