Moms, put away the black veil. There is no call for mourning every time your precious little one passes another milestone. However, you wouldn’t know this from all the wailing and moaning on Facebook and Twitter:
Bumblebee’s first tooth. Goodbye gummy baby smile. I’ll miss you so much. Heart = breaking.
Welp. My youngest can tie his own shoes now so I guess I’ll just go kill myself.
Is it weird that I’m crying over our last pack of Pull-Ups? Where did my baby go?
Yes, it is weird. Newsflash: Kids are supposed to grow up into people. That’s how it works.
I’m not heartless. I get that some moms really like babies, and some moms think toddlers are a blast. I get that it feels good for someone to need you and then when they don’t seem to anymore, life suddenly gets very confusing. I feel a twinge myself—OK, a pang—when my kids don’t turn around to wave.
But honey, you’re not helping anyone by throwing a funeral for the end of childhood. Here, take my hand and climb down off the casket. You’re making a scene. And that’s the problem.
Your child sees what you’re doing. Your baby/toddler/preschooler/little kid sees that it makes you sad when she takes a step forward. And moving forward is exactly what she is supposed to do. Let her do it with excitement and confidence—not wistfully or tentatively, looking backward to see if Mommy is OK with it.
You need to get OK with it. Your baby bundle is going to turn into a awkward-looking tween with a well-developed hypocrisy sniffer. This creature will challenge you in every possible way. He is already watching your every move and can spot a fake smile from a mile away. He remembers you wiping away that tear when when he packed up his stuffies and now he’s debating whether to tell you he’s texting a girl. He’s testing out curse words and he smells and he means it when says he hates you. And no one needs unconditional love more than he does. No one.
The kid you have now is the one who needs you—all of you. Say good-bye to the old one quickly, and without much ado, then open your arms and greet the new one like the dearest he is.