Young tween girl with braids.


My Kid Is Growing Up And It’s Bumming Me Out

Nov 13, 2017

"Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!"

That distinctive little squeaky voice calls my name as I stand in line at the store pondering what to make for dinner — chicken, fish, or maybe spaghetti? I look over to answer that little voice, expecting to see her big blue eyes imploring me over chubby little cheeks.

Only it’s not my kid at all.

My kid is standing on the other side of me. Aside from hoping I don’t notice the lip-gloss she’s sneaked into the cart, she’s not paying any attention to me. Unlike the cherub-faced girl I expected to see, there is instead a lean and angular tween in her place.

My daughter isn’t little anymore.

You'll Also Love: What I Want to Tell My Younger Parent Self

It’s so easy for me to forget. It seems like just yesterday that I would wheel her around the grocery store as she drooled and grazed on our order. I swear I still have items in my fridge that have been around since those days.  (Note to self: clean out the fridge.)

Experienced moms and dads will warn you, the years will fly by. That seems hard to believe when you have a screaming infant keeping you up all night. But now that those days are in the rearview mirror, I find myself mourning all the phases that have passed by — never to return.

I pine for Velcro shoe straps, juice boxes, and packaged toys that you practically need the jaws-of-life to free.

When my daughter was a new baby, I recall sitting with her on my couch, spending yet another day unable to get out of my pj’s. The enormity of becoming a mother was hitting me. As I sat there, I watched out the window as my neighbour, still cute pregnant, waddled up her walkway with a bounty of baby shower gifts in her arms. She looked so relaxed, so excited, so naïve — she glowed.

In that moment I longed to still be pregnant. I missed being the star of the show, feted with gifts, eating for two, with my husband catering to my every whim. I missed being the baby.

And, of course, when the baby years gave way to toddler tantrums, I became nostalgic for the baby time. It went by so fast. In the blink of an eye, my infant was walking and talking. I just couldn’t bring myself to get rid of her old baby bottles and the onesies she had so quickly outgrown. I didn’t want to accept that she was growing up.

And when the toddler years came and went — ok, I’m not going to lie — I don’t entirely miss the toddler years. That felt like hard time with a lot of whining, screaming and crying (mostly me). But while those were tough years, I still find myself wistful that those years are gone for good.

I can’t help but get a little teary eyed when I see a red wagon or bumblebee backpacks or light-up sneakers. I get choked up when I come across glittery princess dresses, or superhero capes, or bike helmets with kitty cat ears. I miss primary colours, morning cartoons, and fish crackers. I pine for Velcro shoe straps, juice boxes, and packaged toys that you practically need the jaws-of-life to free. I yearn for trips to the park, wrestling on snow pants, and stepping on Lego in the middle of the night. I miss all of it. Because it really does go by too fast. And often you’re too darn busy to actually appreciate it. But when it’s gone, it’s gone.

You'll Also Love: How I'm Teaching My Child to Ride Public Transit Without Me

My daughter’s 10 now. We’ve arrived in this middle place, somewhere between being a little kid and being grownup. Some days, she wants to hold my hand and tell me the entire plot of TV show she just watched. Other days, she’d rather close her door and be alone. She likes to play with my makeup, but applies to it a perpetually dirty face. This is a new phase. We’re treading in unchartered territory. But I now understand, all of these stages are temporary. So I’m going to make sure to make the most of all of it. I’m going to take it all in.

"Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!"

That little kid in the grocery store is having a meltdown now. My daughter and I watch as the mom works hard to keep from losing her mind. We share a sympathetic glance as we put our bags into the cart. Then we pay for our groceries and get the heck out of there. We’re going to get our nails done and talk about why you can’t see air, if wifi is better in space, and American politics.

My kid is growing up, and I’m loving it.

Article Author Laura Mullin
Laura Mullin

Read more from Laura here.

Laura Mullin is a published playwright and writer and the co-artistic director of the award-winning company, Expect Theatre. She is also the co-host and producer of PlayME, a podcast that transforms plays into audio dramas now on CBC. She has worked in theatre, film, and television and lives in Toronto with her writer/producer husband and daughter. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @expectlaura.

Add New Comment

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.