Sometimes I forget that my youngest is just 8 and still so young compared to his 13.5 yr old, 6 ft tall sister and 11 yr old brother that is almost in Middle School. What can I say, something just shifts when the oldest kids become more independent and mature in a way where you parent different than you did when they were all 8 and under.
They just don’t need you to be as hands on anymore. Don’t get me wrong, they still NEED you, it’s just different and a topic for another blog post. The paradigm shifts and it’s easy to forget that the youngest does still need you that way.
I realize, he still needs and wants things like extra cuddles, to sit in my lap, bed time stories, band aides and ice for tiny scratches and bumps, kisses on the lips, kiddie rides at the Fair, games of Go Fish and Tic Tac Toe, help with his laundry, and reminders to bathe and brush (although the 11 yr. old still needs this too. Starting to think it might be a boy thing vs age thing.)
Lately I’m more aware of how intentional I need to be with him in this season like I was when the older two were his age. And not just for him, but for me too! I need to do more 8 yr. old things and to cherish them because it won’t be long before he stops asking for band aides to feel better, moves from kisses on the lips to kisses on the cheek, and no longer fits in my lap when cuddling on the couch.
There will come a day when they can drive themselves places, will eat more meals on the go with friends than at home around the table with us, have a job and social life that keeps them out past OUR bedtime, and then, sure enough, move them out one by one. I don’t dread these seasons that are fast approaching because I know that each will be special in their own unique way. But what I don’t want to do is miss a season just because we’re keeping the “big kids” pace of life for everyone.
So, keep your eyes open for the moments that help remind you they still need you at the season they’re in even though it’s normal to go with the grain of the older kids. That moment when they come to you and show you the microscopic cut on their finger and your knee jerk reaction is to tell them that they’re fine like you would the older ones. Stop and remember their age and choose to be intentional and present with their season of life when you can. Give them that band aid and know that it won’t be long before they’re so tough that they don’t need one, even if they really do. And play Go Fish for the millionth time. They need you not to rush them into a different season, and to avoid missing it, you do too.