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car seat, milestones, growing up, leting go, 8

Motherhood, It’s No One Else’s Job to Care

by Deborah Cruz

growing up, car seats, milstones, motherhoodThe moments of motherhood that sneak up on you. Last week, my daughter turned 8. Wow, time is flying by at warp speed. Her birthday was on Sunday and it was preceded by complete chaos. There was a slumber party, the family party that concluded with the entire family shooting a Harlem shake video and Sunday, March 10, we celebrated officially; her father, her sister, her and myself. We always celebrate, just the four of us, on actual birthdays.

It started with a violin performance at the local arts festival by my birthday girl, followed by some shopping, a ride around the neighborhood on her new scooter and dinner of her choice and then, my favorite part; her birth minute kiss. We’ve done this every year since she was born. On her birthday, on the exact moment that she was born, her father and I, kiss her on her forehead, just like we did the second she was born on that beautiful March afternoon in Tennessee, 8 years ago. But then it happened, the magic was broken; the veil of motherhood bliss was lifted.

“Hey, Mommy, can we have the “ceremonial removing of the car seat” ( her father’s words, not hers)?” I was silent for a few moments. My husband was grinning from ear to ear. He seems to relish in their independence. He’s proud of them for wanting to let go. I’m sad that it’s all going so damn fast. I catch myself clutching to moments taking snapshots in my mind, in my heart, capturing it for all eternity to keep with my soul.

I was a little choked up because, quite frankly, I had forgotten about the 8 year or 80 pounds rule. It should be the stay in that booster til mommy says you can get out rule. As far as I am concerned, she can just stay in that car seat til puberty. It’s not like I have her latched into a 5-point safety harness or anything but, damn, that booster car seat, with the pink and grey pattern, lifts her up just high enough so that I can glance in my rear view mirror and catch her smiling to herself about her thoughts, or dancing to her favorite song or singing when she thinks no one else is paying attention. I love those moments. Now,I can’t see her without being conspicuous. I live for those stolen moments of childhood. In those tiny moments, I see her unfiltered and I love her more for those moments of unbridled exuberance.

I blame my husband for all of this. He is the one who enthusiastically reminded her on Thursday that she would be graduating from the booster seat into just the seat belt. She was thrilled. I was not. I begrudgingly agreed to the “ceremonial removal of the car seat” even though it broke my mommy heart a little. We all headed outside, me with my phone in hand to video tape the entire thing because this was BIG.

car seat, milestones, growing up, leting go, 8

As I taped it, I could feel my throat choking on the lump and my eyes stinging, fighting not to blink or my secret would be revealed. I watched as my 8 year old grabbed the car seat, threw it to the ground and literally did a happy dance. I died a little bit. Then my husband put it into the garage as the girls scampered into the house to move on to the next celebration. I stopped my husband and I asked him in a whisper, ” Why aren’t you more upset? Doesn’t this bother you?She’s growing up too fast. Pretty soon, she’ll be sitting in the front seat and the next thing you know she’ll be driving the damn car.”

His answer, “Debi, it’s just a car seat.”

Me: “No, it’s her growing up. I can’t believe that you’re not more emotional.”

Then he said something that put my whole life in perspective and explained this phenomenon to me, “It’s no one else’s job to care about these things but yours. You’re the mommy.”

It’s true. It is no one else’s job to care about the little things, the looks, the smiles, the tears, the hopes, the dreams, the booboos, the heartbreaks and everything else in between but mine because I am the mommy and that is okay with me. I am the keeper of my babies and my goal is to be the best keeper that I can be.

What mommy moments have made you stand in awe of motherhood?

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Corey Feldman 2013/03/27 - 2:05 pm

Oh dear! I have to disagree with you here. In a couple months my wife has finally convinced me to let our oldest (who is a 90 percentile 6 year old. He’s not fat at all, tall and solid. But he towers over most everyone in his Kindergarten class) move from a 5 point harness to a booster seat. I am so not ready for the same reasons. Yes I know in the next few months he will be too big for the seat. But I’m the one who is not ready for him to be! Melissa, she would go out today and buy a booster if it was completely up to her!

Deborah Cruz 2013/03/27 - 2:18 pm

@Corey Feldman I wasn’t saying dads don’t feel that way. That is what my husband said to me.I think there is probably one parent who is more laid back and one who is more protective and holding on, savoring every morsel of our child’s childhood.If we were all hanging on like you and I, our kids would never grow up and leave home ( Which honestly, is perfectly alright with me:) I in no way meant that daddies love their children any less. The daddies I know love their children fiercely. My daughters are the giants of the class too. They have always been in the 90 percentile. Same as your son, not overweight at all just tall and solid. Maybe I should amend my title to “PArenthood” instead of “motherhood” 🙂

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