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And Babies Don't Keep.

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow, For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow. So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep. I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

- Song for a Fifth Child, Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Well, First Grade doesn't get any easier. Everyone tells you that it goes by in the blink of an eye, and sadly, it's true. I feel like I'm constantly turning back behind me and trying to make yesterday's memories still fit into my arms. On Tuesday, I sent my baby off in slightly-too-big shoes to his first day in a new grade, with a new teacher, in a new school. I shuffled back inside, closed the door. My husband very sweetly caught me up in a very big, very much needed hug. The days are long but I'll be damned, the years really do fly by.

He doesn't want to do the secret handshake kiss at the bus stop anymore. When I ask him if he wants to snuggle, he rolls his eyes and tells me I'm weird. Today, when he got home, I wanted so, so badly to scoop him up in my arms but this is NOT what First Graders do, Mom. He wanted to look at something on my phone and as he curled up next to me, I was afraid to move or barely even breathe. I wanted to hold on as long as I possibly could to the feeling of having him close to me.

And I'm proud as can be of this beautiful boy that is my son. But I feel this sort of existential panic. He's growing up. I'm growing up. One day, I won't be here for him anymore. One day long before that, he won't need me. And long before he stops needing me, he'll stop wanting hugs and kisses. Oh, my snowball scenario capabilities run rampant, here. In my mind, I'm already on my deathbed and he's an old man himself and I didn't have enough time. And my heart just aches.

It's been a year since I shared a blog post. It's hard to believe. This past year has been a wild series of events, culminating in my marriage in July to this fantastic man that I feel so lucky to call my children's step-father. Funny, coming here tonight to post these first day of school photos, only to find that this was the topic of my last post, as well. At every phase, I wish I could just hold this boy in my arms until he falls asleep and hear his little breaths and kiss his forehead on the way out of the room. They're always our babies, but they have to grow up. I envision waking up, at the end of this all, and feeling the pain wash away and the heart's deepest longing to love them endlessly fulfilled.

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