My Little Girl is Growing Up and I’m Not Ready

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When you become a parent, everyone gives you the same advice: Enjoy every moment. “Of course I’m going to enjoy every moment,” you think. “How can I resist this cute, cuddly, perfect little bundle of joy?”

But when you’re running on less than two hours of consecutive sleep during the third feeding of the night, or your toddler is throwing a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store and you’ve tried everything you can possibly think of to console them, enjoying the moment is the LAST thing on your mind.

Sooner or later, you get stuck in what becomes the daily grind—get up, get the kids ready for daycare, go to work, come home, maker dinner, bath, bed, repeat. You start going through the motions and the days begin to blend together and everything becomes a blur, until one day you wonder, “where did the time go?”

My daughter recently turned four and I found myself asking that same question, where did the time go?

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I’m starting to realize my little girl is not so little anymore. Looking back at pictures from last year, it’s clear she’s growing up right before my eyes…and quicker than I realized! Heck, she’s already half my height and has the attitude of a fourteen-year-old. She’s developing her own personality and definitely not a toddler anymore.

I miss her chubby little cheeks and tiny crooked smile, and the way she carried two nomi’s (her word for pacifiers) with her at all times—one in her mouth, and one in her hand. Even her sweet, little, innocent voice is starting to sound more mature. Where did the time go?

As parents we’re so focused on surviving the sleepless nights and trudging through the terrible twos and threes that somewhere in between the spit up and spilled Cheerios, our little ones outgrow our laps and learn to wipe off our kisses.

As much as I craved a little independence (and the ability to use the bathroom without her clinging to my side), I miss her begging me to carry her everywhere I go. I miss nap time and cuddling on the couch on a lazy Saturday afternoon. I miss being able to hug and kiss and squeeze her cheeks as much as I want, whenever I want.

I took those moments for granted, thinking they would last forever. Now, I wish I could have them back. Where did the time go?

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These days, everything is go, go, go. Sitting on mommy’s lap and cuddling on the couch isn’t exactly her idea of fun anymore. She even wipes my kisses off! Can you believe that? We even had our first “I don’t like you mommy,” moment. I knew that day would come eventually, but OUCH! I would be lying if I said part of me wasn’t crying on the inside when those words came out of her mouth.

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Part of me feels like I lost my little girl, while the other half of me is excited for all the new stages and adventures that are on the horizon. Soon she’ll be going to kindergarten, but before I know it she’ll be moving out and leaving for college. Okay, so maybe I’m over exaggerating. But for real, time flies when you’re a parent. One day you’re teaching your kids how to sing their ABCs, and the next they’re learning how to drive.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: When you’re stuck in the daily grind, it can be hard to appreciate all the chaos that comes with raising a child—the good, the bad and the down right poopy. I know this sounds cliche and you’ve probably heard it a million times before, but seriously ENJOY EVERY MOMENT!

Even though the lack of sleep is enough to make you loopy and the tantrums will make you want to pull your hair out, you will miss these moments. Take the good days with the bad and soak up all the precious memories you can.

Can you relate? How do you deal with all the emotions that come with watching your children grow up and what advice do you have for letting them go?

Comments

  1. says

    The problem is I just gotta stop blinking! lol It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time watching our little mini-me’s become big mini-mes (if that makes sense). I wish somebody invented a universal pause button or a time machine because I don’t ever want to miss a single second. What a mom to do!!

  2. says

    Couldn’t relate better! When I was pregnant with my twins, I couldn’t hold my toddler, then after they were born and I had time to heal, I was able to hold her again. She felt so big! I was like, what the heck happen?? She is turning 5 next month and sometimes I want to cry, throw up, or jump for joy. LOL I guess it depends what moment it is that makes me realize how fast she’s growing up. :-)

  3. says

    I’m starting to feel the exact same way. I get all emotional thinking about how tiny she was and helpless and now she can just get up and go. It’s a mixture of emotions really.

  4. says

    Children do grow up fast. My girls are 12 and 10. My 12 year old doesn’t cuddle anymore. But my 10 year old does still which I love. Not looking forward to the youngest not wanting to cuddle with me.

  5. Samantha says

    I can totally relate! My oldest will be turning 4 this summer. Every once in a while I’ll look at him and it just shocks me how much he looks like a boy now, not just a little baby anymore. This was absolutely beautiful!

  6. says

    My husband and I were just talking about this tonight. I mentioned to him that our eldest is turning 6 this year and we wondered how that had happened. We blinked and nearly six year have passed filled with sleepless nights and gray hairs. As the saying goes, the days are long but the years are short. I think that’s so true.

  7. says

    I can totally relate. Sometimes the days are never ending, but then all of a sudden months have flown by. My babies will be 4 on their next birthday, and I really can’t believe it.

  8. says

    I think we all go through this feeling at some point in the parenting journey. It reminds me of what one of my favorite authors, Gretchen Rubin, says: “The days are long, but the years are short.” I don’t know if I have any advice for letting children go and grow, except that I try to focus on getting to know who they are and are going to be. They’re each such special people in their own right that it keeps me focused on the positive. I do miss those chubby cheeks though…

  9. says

    I have a hard time with this as well. My girls are now 8 & 11 and the time has gone by so fast and I know this will only continue. I simply take it one day at a time and try and spend as much time as I can with them!

  10. Wendy Howell says

    Courtney we loved your post and its ironic that the way you feel about Payten growing up before your eyes all that she is showing you and AJ with her need for independence and the “I do it myself” reminds me of YOU when we were raising you.. the feelings you shared within this post are exactly the same feelings we had back in the day while raising you.. I remember Dad watching the movie.. Father of the Bride with Steve Martin.. Your Dad said after watching the movie.. everything George Banks said in this movie.. the feelings that Dads have about their little girls was the same feelings he felt about you.. He said .. “Courtney is 8 yrs old.. I feel like she’s already half-way out of our house”.. But we never stop enjoying our children even as they make their way into adulthood, their careers and starting their own family.. The joy of becoming a grand parent for us is seeing your family tree.. the legacy pass on and reliving those moments twice through your grand squirts.. Enjoy the season you are in soon there will be another season to enjoy.. We’re so proud of you Courtney.. that little go getter as a toddler and as a teenager is the same go-getter today…

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