I’ve been sharing in this space, since June 2008. Our eldest child, nicknamed Bear on the blog, was not yet two. He was an only child, though his little brother was only a few months from being born. We spent our days playing trains and painting and baking and going for walks to the park and mothers group and bible study and story time.
Over the 14 years since that first post, this blog has watched him grow from a toddler and an only child, to a big brother, eldest of four, who now towers over me. Through it all, I’ve documented craft projects and holidays and daily life and birthday cakes. This blog has watched me grow as well, from a new mama rediscovering old hobbies, to an older, wiser, more tired mama, crafting as though my sanity depends on it. Some days it does.
This birthday season sees a new chapter in our family story. Our beautiful Bear, the inquisitive toddler, the creative homeschooler, the ambitious teenager, turned 16. It feels like a major milestone on his journey towards adulthood. Along with that big scary number comes another exciting (for him), terrifying (for us), step in growing up – learning to drive.
My friends, he has his license. That tiny boy who built cardboard box cars can now drive an actual car on an actual road.
I am feeling all the feels. I woke up on his birthday, hours before he would stir, and just sat quietly, watching the sun rise, thinking about the last sixteen years, and how truly fast it has gone. They all say that, when children are tiny, that it goes fast, but there’s no way to appreciate that speed until you’ve lived it. The end of his days at home with us feel like they are racing towards us far too fast. It’s strange, this business of parenting an almost adult, who stands a good head taller than me, who will stretch even taller to look down and call me “my tiny mummy” with a twinkle in his eye. Joyous, inspiring, but strange.
There is quite the upside to having a learner driver though, I discovered when we went for a family drive on Sunday, in search of a country pub offering a yummy counter lunch. I might have lost my bookhole, and the right to choose the music, but I have gained something in its stead – backseat bonus crafting.
On that first long drive, I got through an entire repeat of my Linarii shawl for the Bookish Knitters Society knitalong. I managed a few pages of my book, in between chatting with 9 year old Beetle – another unexpected benefit of this new stage. It’s a very different conversation when I’m right there next to him, compared to in the front. He chatted away all the way home, full of fun stories and interesting facts, and less, enjoyably, a running tally of the dead kangaroos complete with the proportion missing their heads. (16 roos, four headless, in a 35km stretch, if you were interested).
Sixteen. My goodness. The days might be long, so very long, but the years turned out to be far shorter than I ever expected.