I was cleaning out the boys' closets the other day, and I found their stash of baby shoes.
Scuffed toes, shredded shoe laces, and worn out heels-- shoes that helped them learn to walk, to run, to play.
I carefully held each pair and was flooded with memories of chubby little baby boy legs and feet, and I looked over at the boys and wondered where all of that has gone.
So quickly, they have grown into elementary school boys, with knobby knees and ankles and thin faces.
So quickly, they don't quite need me like they used to. I think that is the hardest change to acknowledge.
I am glad to see them growing, thriving, but I feel the loss of their babyhood, their chubby cheeks, the garbled chatter, the need for just mommy. I miss the wonder I had at them, a new parent, taking in all of their first moments.
For a while, I felt as if that wonder was gone, but each day I am learning to see the joy and wonder that comes with this age.
The way they learn to have friends or to not have friends, to get their feelings hurt, to see who really cares.
The way they learn to be a part of fads (silly bands, anyone?).
The way they experiment with their sense of humor and sarcasm.
The way they pretend to be grown up but still fret over missing blankets until we find them.
The way they curl up at night with their stuffed animals.
The way they blow me kisses and hugs when I tell them goodbye.
The way they cuddle with me on the couch when we watch movies.
I sighed and packed their baby shoes away again, wistful for the past, thinking that sometimes these ages seem like a new way of life for us all.
Then I saw Pacey's blanket that he left beside me when he was looking at his baby shoes.
Maybe it really isn't that different after all.