Today my son Kieran turns five. And I have really mixed feelings about this.
Let me back up a little bit. When I first held my child in my arms, I knew I was in big trouble. I realized I loved this little boy so intensely that I would have to learn to live with the fear that something might happen to him. I was now truly and utterly vulnerable.
Last week, as Heron, Kieran and I were slowly making our way on the Schooner Trail at Shackford Head, the fact that my little boy was turning five hit me like a ton of bricks. Now, I do realize what year it is. I do remember the date of my child's birth. But somehow the idea that five years had passed, and what that meant, was a revelation to me. Time is moving too fast. And the kicker is that I've been with this kid since day one, literally! We have been constant companions for five years. And instead of wanting to boot this kid out the door to school, I'm frantic that I don't have enough time with my son, things are going to change, and poof! It's over! He's gone!
Maybe it was the fact that I could actually send Kieran to school next year (we aren't) that kind of spooked me. The fear of our lives changing. The fear of me being without him and him without me. The fear of letting him go. But really, what choice do I have? Every day as parents we have to let them go a little. I know, intellectually, that this needs to happen. And it should. I don't want Kieran to stay five forever. But in my heart, honestly, (as I shared with my husband this evening through another snotty crying jag ) sometimes I'd be happy to stay right where we are.
But I'm a big girl. I know how things are supposed to work. And besides, this isn't just about me (although that would make my life so much easier sometimes). I can't stop time, nor do I really want to. I guess I just need to go through my own stages, too, as a parent. As happy as I am about Kieran being five, and all he's accomplished, I'm definitely grieving a little, too.
With all of this, there is such sweetness. I feel like I'm falling in love with Kieran again and again, each time I look at him. Drinking him in. Reading him extra books at bedtime. Walking home from art class slowly, hand in hand. This exquisite love. I am so thankful to him for it. It is absolutely worth any pain or sadness I will, or would ever, have to endure.
Happy Birthday, my sweet boy.