Five Years Old

A few days ago, Munchkin and I cuddled on the couch as I tried to settle him down for a nap. Last week was a three-day fight against a fever and required an extended recuperation. He loves to cuddle, but it is rare that I can enjoy these moments uninterrupted by my youngest or a pressing chore that truly cannot wait. “Georgia On My Mind” played softly while I pulled a blanket over us. His fingers curled around mine. When did they turn into little boy hands?

Georgia, Georgia… the whole day through…

Five years ago, I spent my due date frantically finishing up the last of the “couldn’t be left” items at my job. It was a stressful last trimester; the nonprofit I worked at and my boss had parted ways abruptly. As the only other employee, I pulled long twelve-hour days finishing tasks that just couldn’t be left. At 6 p.m. I sent my last email out and closed up the documents I’d been working on. I was done. The rest could be left for those who were filling in for me.

I think Munchkin was just biding his time, waiting for me to relax enough for my body to work without conflicting thoughts or guilt. I woke up at 7 a.m. the next morning in active labor. Early that afternoon, I met the boy who made me a mother.

I said Georgia, oh Georgia…
A song of you comes as sweet and clear as moonlight through the pines…

He grew five inches last year, skipping merrily through two clothing sizes and he sounds, at times, oddly mature as he asks about things like plate tectonics and why ice crystals form and yesterday… oh god… he asked how babies come out of their mommies. I am not ready for this conversation.

Five Years 2

Lately comments like “Oh, in another ten years he’ll be driving!” slip out of my husband’s and my mouth without conscious thought. It’s ten years away… TEN… and yet my husband and I have been together for a little over a decade already. It’s not so long, really.

This fall he’ll be in Kindergarten. Just thinking about it makes my heart contract painfully. He grows… up and out and away…

Other arms reach out for me, Other eyes smile tenderly, Still… in peaceful dreams I see… the road leads back to you…. 

That afternoon, he tried to make himself small, head tucked under my chin. But lanky boy limbs pressed up against me – the belly that nurtured him and the breasts that nourished him in those early days. He’s a nervous cuddler – fiddling relentlessly with my fingers and ears as he waits for sleep to come.

I stroked his hair and forehead, projected calm, knowing I wouldn’t know exactly when it was coming… but whether it’s sleep I’m now waiting for or that moment that he springs from my arms never to return… I’m not sure.

Five Years 3

Sleep, when it does come, is sudden. His hands fall still. His breathing deepens. His lashes make dark half-moons on his cheeks and as I’m rising I cannot help but kiss him over and over, risking disturbing those dreams that took so long to settle in.

How did five years go so fast?

Just an old sweet song keeps… Georgia on my mind.

18 thoughts on “Five Years Old

  1. Oh what a great photo. My daughter is five so I hear you. They are full kid by then and really not overgrown toddlers like they seem at three and four. But next to my bigger kids (8, 10) she still seems sort of babyish and I love those aspects of her. Oh, and with my ten-year-old my husband does the same thing. “He’ll only be with us for eight more years” and stuff like that. I always wants to smack him upside the head!

    1. Thank you so much for the compliment, Nina!

      I have to wonder about the “it’ll only be x more years” comments. I don’t tend to make them very much, it IS my husband that says them more (in my humble opinion). I wonder if that holds true for other families as well?

    1. Thank you so much Emily! You know, I think Georgia does sound like it should be written for a Mama, but everything I’ve read about it indicated that it was written for the state – and the author of the song even said so in his biography.

  2. Aw, what a lovely expression of love to your sweet boy. What is it about turning five and starting Kindergarten, exactly, that gives us this particular kind of heartache? I wondered too when mine turned five, two years go already. I still don’t have the answers, but I certainly understand what you’re feeling.

    1. Thank you so much for coming by Kristen… and I’m not sure at all what it is. I certainly don’t remember having the same feelings at four… but perhaps I’ve just lost sight of them. We attended his birthday circle at preschool, and I had a hard time not crying the entire time! Angie – above – says that it never truly goes away though, which I can certainly believe as well!

  3. My oldest is five too. She is in Kindergarten. So big. For some reason, these 5-year-old milestones make it crystal clear how quickly it all goes. Now, I look at my younger children and I’m aware time is flying by. And kindergarten, I had no idea how hard that milestone would be – talk about anxiety. 🙂

    1. I’m having a really hard time with the kindergarten milestone, for sure. How will he function in a school environment? Will his teacher understand his high energy levels? Will he like it??? I guess the gift our older children give us is that we slow down a little to savor the younger ones? That is sad and a good thing all the same time. 🙁

      Thank you for coming by!

  4. Oh, what a sweet moment for you to preserve on the blog! I so treasure those moments when my son (now 4.5) finds an excuse to sit close to me or hold my hand. Love the photos you shared too.

    1. Thank you so much Julia! I try to take mental snapshots of those moments… sadly I forget many of them, but I keep hoping that I can take them with me, to whatever is beyond, somehow.

    1. Hello! You’re my first visitor! Thank you!!! And how did you know it was FINALLY up! Oh my goodness, this has been a long couple of weeks. I was waiting for a day and a half for the nameservers to resolve to the new IP address…

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