The Heartache of the Fourth Birthday

Liam Turning Four
Liam Turning Four

In three weeks Liam will be four years old. I am not sure why this upcoming birthday has been so difficult for me. But if I talk about it too much or let my mind wander to him being four I tear up. It isn’t that I want him to be a baby again either. I much rather have him be the age he is now. We can play, talk, and interact with each other and have some real bonding moments. However, next year will be his last year in preschool and then he goes off to Kindergarten. That blows my mind. Where did the time go?

When Liam was born everyone said it goes fast and it wasn’t that I denied it, it is just unimaginable to me how four years evaporated away so quickly. My husband and I were just reminiscing this morning about Liam’s third birthday and what we did to celebrate. It seems like that was just a couple of months ago. How did a whole year slip away?

I took the kids for haircuts yesterday and when Liam was finished it took everything in my power not to start blubbering. His golden curly locks lay on the floor and there he was with a little boy haircut.   The transformation unfolded before my eyes and I was blown away.  To me it felt like a huge milestone had been made, but in reality it was just another haircut. An undeniable reminder of how big he has gotten.

On Friday Liam called for me and when I got there he said, “Look mom I wrote my name.” There he had written “Lia”.  I said to him, “That’s great but you are missing one letter.” He said to me, “I know mom, but I did not know how to write an “m”.” My heart soared. My son knew how to spell his name, but at the same time a little piece of me was sad. I was so proud, happy and every other positive word you could think of, but I didn’t even know he knew how to do that. He is learning something new every day. It is so much fun to see him learn and explore these new things, but it is also hard as I know these are the small pieces that are needed for independence.

Of course, I want him to develop learn and become independent, I just was hoping it would happen at a slower rate. I then think maybe no rate would be easy as it always going to be hard to slowly let go. But that is part of the process of growing up. Liam learning new things and mommy learning to let go. It is a beautiful bittersweet process for mother and son to learn together. He will teach me how to slowly let go and I will always be there cheering him on as his grows and learns. However, if he ever falls in the process of trying something new and he needs someone to pick him up, my arms will always be open.

First Day of School

I was so excited about Liam starting preschool. I imagined all of the new things he would learn and the new friends he would make. I was excited about the experiences he would have and the projects he would make.

As I sat in the orientation for the parents while Liam played in the big room with his soon to be classmates, I smiled as his teachers spoke. They were friendly, bubbly, energetic women who have been doing this for over 25 years and ooze with excitement. You could tell that they really love it. This only made my excitement multiple.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThat is why I would have never expected in a million years what happened to me on his first day. When we got up that morning it began like any other morning. We had breakfast, Liam and Ava had bath, and they played downstairs in the sunroom. When it got close to the time that we would have to leave, I led them both upstairs to put their shoes on. As we walked to the car I told Liam how much fun and wonderful school was. When we got there the parking lot was already filled and as I got Liam out of the car, I gave him his book bag. He took my hand and said, “Let’s hurry I don’t want to be late.” Holding Liam’s hand and Ava in my arms we walked to the door. And then it happened…

Out of nowhere my throat tightened and my eyes welled with tears. What was this? Why was this happening? What happened to the excitement I had in me just 10 minutes ago? I knew I had to pull it together as I didn’t want others to see me and more importantly I did not want Liam to see me. He looked up at me and said,” Mom when can I go inside?” Somehow I choked out that we were just waiting for his teacher to come out. Moments later she appeared. Liam let go of my hand and ran to her. He didn’t even look back. He was gone.

I quickly turned on my heels and walked out praying I would make it to the car before the tears started to flow. I got Ava in her seat and quickly scrambled to the driver’s seat, I put my head on the steering wheel and began to cry. Poor Ava from the backseat yelled, “Ma!” After a minute of cathartic crying, I wiped the tears from my eyes and turned back to face Ava. I told her momma was sad, but she is ok now. Perplexed at what had just happened we headed to the food store.

In hindsight I know exactly what had happened. In my excitement I had overlooked one detail. My little boy is growing up. It truly is a bittersweet moment as I am so happy for him, but not quite sure where the last 3 ½ years went. Liam has just begun his journey as a student. Although it is a happy moment, it is important to pay homage to the fact that a major milestone has been passed.

In the end Liam had a great first day of school. “Mommy I love it,” he exclaimed to me when I asked him about his day. I am so glad that Liam made it through his first day of school and I am glad I made it through too!