Four Years In A Blink, In a Lifetime

by Ginger on September 12, 2013

in Mom Thoughts, Random, The Kid

Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that Jackson has only been in our lives for four years. I know there WAS a time before him, and I remember it, but it almost doesn’t feel real. It might as well have been someone else’s life sometimes. My life for the 30 years before he joined us feel vastly different than the four after. It feels like it’s been a blink of an eye and also a lifetime that I’ve been his mom, and I know that stretching and shrinking of time is not likely to change as he gets older.

I didn’t have time during his birthday last week to get really reflective, which is good because we were so busy gearing up for a very special Disneyland birthday that I probably would have lost my mind if I got too sappy. But my sap these days is less in big wailing “MAH BAYBEEEE” moments, and more in small little instances that remind me he’s getting bigger, these little zings that come out of nowhere.

“I’ll go the bathroom by myself.”


“I can trace those letters.”


“I’ll pour the milk.”


“C. A. R. The c says kkkkk, the a says aaaaaaa, the r says rrrrrrr. That says Car.”


There are the not so nice zings too, while I’m keeping things honest, where he says something because he WANTS to hurt feelings, or where he repeats something he clearly learned at school, or where he pulls out an attitude that I thought we had a few more years before we saw.

These reminders, nice and not so, that he is growing up, and taking more and more steps into the world. And, by the very nature of them, taking those steps away from us. And the crazy thing about being a parent is that THAT’S the job. Our job is to love them, fiercely, and not only watch them but HELP THEM grow up and away from us until the day where they are their own, independent people.

And the thing is, sometimes the job flat out sucks. I LOVED age three, but there were times that I just wanted to lock myself in my bedroom and throw my own tantrum because he was being THAT frustrating. There is yelling and backtalk and attitude and meanness and pushing buttons and boundaries. And, as everyone says, the stakes go up and up and up as he gets older. We are trying to raise a good, decent, kind, productive person and there are very real challenges to instilling those values and teaching those lessons. Add in increasing levels of outside influences (teachers and classmates and tv and neighbors and on and on) and sometimes it feels like the most daunting job in the world.  There is lots of questioning of “are we screwing this up?” and the honest answer is “I don’t know.” My parenting has featured plenty of tears and stress and self-doubt and frustration and insecurity.

But for every time the parenting gig sucks, there are at least 10 times that are awesome. When you see the lessons you’ve been teaching become second nature (“thank you for my drink”) or when you see a small kindness come to the surface with no prompting (“oh, that little girl looks sad. I’ll go give her a hug to make her feel better”) it’s that little reminder that, hey, you’re not doing a totally terrible job. And when you see this little person grow and learn, it can be awe inspiring to watch his mind and his body figure things out and become home to knowledge that we sometimes take for granted. And then there are the parts that just are…nice. Like when a little hand reaches for yours, or a little voice says “I want ALL the kisses and hugs mommy,” or a little body climbs next to you and snuggles in bed. Because my parenting has also featured an abundance of riches of laughter and love and joy and awe and humility and devotion.

I’m rambling, I know I am. But honestly, that’s how parenting this kid is right now. It changes, from minute to minute, depending on as many factors as you can think of, up to and including the position of the moon in the sky and what kind of shape the sandwich is in. (Oh, four is so….FOUR sometimes). I can’t wrap my head around it most of the time.

But I know that I’m grateful to the four years this little man has been in our lives. And I’m grateful that I get to be his mom.

Jackson Turns 4

Bonus: I couldn’t help it, I got a little sappy when I watched this video. I mean, really. He’s this big kid now, but he used to be so little. MAH BAYBEEEE:

Jackson: One Year and Counting from Ginger @ RambleRamble on Vimeo.


nonsequiturchica September 13, 2013 at 6:52 am

I can’t believe that Jackson is already four as well! CRAZY!

Laura Diniwilk September 13, 2013 at 7:58 am

I always find your posts so relatable because Jackson and Adriana are the same age, and so are we. This post so perfectly sums up this age. Happy birthday, J!

Trina September 13, 2013 at 10:12 am

This was beautiful. I already think time is going too fast and she’s only 8 months. I love how you are honest about the good and the bad. Parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. And you are doing a great job!

Stephanie September 17, 2013 at 3:14 pm

It’s so funny that I see this video, because as I was taking a shower today, I was thinking about what kind of video that I wanted to make when my (almost 8-month-old) turns 1, and what song I would use. (I dig MGMT, by the way!)

I can’t believe how fast it’s going, even though I knew it would…

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