Yesterday the kids and I were cleaning up the house and The Boy mentioned to me that he wanted to learn how to make lunch. Well, I thought that was a great idea so I asked him what he wanted to make. This was his reply:
The Boy: "I want to make lunch."
Me: " I know you want to make lunch, but what do you want to have?"
TB: " lunch."
Me: " ok then.... what do you want me to show you how to make for lunch?"
TB: " you'll see."
Me: " well, hun..I can't really show you how to make it, unless you tell me what it is you want first."
TB: " Oh, ok. I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich."
Easy enough! So off we ventured to the kitchen. We found all of the right supplies and he went right to work getting two pieces of bread and picking out the kind of jelly he wanted. I showed him how to use a spoon to scoop it all out, since he isn't quite proficient enough with a knife yet. He learned to do the jelly first so we don't get peanut butter in the jelly jar and kill our little sister and then I tried mightily to help him spread it all out. Like I said, he and the butter knife weren't working so well together. He is also as stubborn as mule, where he got that I don't know ;-), and would really let me help him. He persevered and completed the sandwich and was so proud of his accomplishment!
Of course, Little Girl could not be left out, as she is even more stubborn than The Boy, if you can imagine. She got to pick out her jelly too and instead of peanut butter is was regular butter. She used the spoon though and that worked well for her. She was quite excited to have done it herself and I love the huge smiles they both had when they were done.
It always feels great to work hard for something and achieve it. I am constantly surprised at the milestones my children arrive at before I am even ready for it, or think they are. I try to encourage my children to be self-sufficient, to learn to do things on their own. To be responsible and aware of their choices. I love seeing them grow.
And yes, it pains me a little too. I sometimes wish they could stay tiny forever. I often find myself squeezing infant girl to my chest, holding on for dear life, willing her to freeze in time. I can't get over the way she smells, or talks or breaths. I am afraid minutes, hours, days, years from now I won't be able to recall the way her hands grasp my fingers, the rustling sounds of her crawling across the floor, or the way her face lights up when she sees me.
I do remember one night, right after Little Girl was born. The Man had just taken The Boy up to bed and I was reading a book I had received on children, though now I can't recall its title. In the back were a few pages dedicated to nursery rhymes and lullabies and as I read one that spoke of little ones growing up, of tiny hands becoming children's hands and on to adults, I couldn't hep but sob. Sob for my little boy who was getting bigger everyday, who would never be small again. Sob for the inevitable fact that he would one day be a man and leave his home, and me. I locked myself in the bathroom and cried and cried.
Looking back now, it may have just been an influx of post-labor hormones, or sleepless nights. Whatever the case, I do know that with each child I have my love for every one of them grows. I don't think I have the same traumatic outlook on them becoming older. I am excited to see them doing new things and becoming their own person. I look forward to what the future holds. I will continue to encourage them to learn, and grow. I know that no matter where they go or what they do, they will have the influences of their parents in the back of their mind telling them that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. And no matter what, they will always know how to make a good PB and J.