Kids grow like weeds, don’t they?

Nothing fills me with quite as much pride as watching my kids grow up and become more independent. I’ve encouraged their autonomy. And my eyes became satiated countless times over with tears for these extraordinary little beings that I’ve helped to create.

However, mixed in with tears of joy are more than a few tears of sadness consisting of both nostalgia and melancholy. My proud smile faltered sometimes, as clear-cut realizations hit me like a ton of bricks. Like in the shower this morning… I realized that each step they took towards independence was yet another step they took away from me. It’s something I still find tough to swallow..

I’m not sure why it caught my focus this morning because there had been thousands of showers just like it. My morning routine had been established to beat the many-years-ago tinies upcoming vivification. A moment of solitude for myself before the simoon of tears and tantrums. It took every ounce of fortitude and resiliency I had in my inventory to prepare myself for the day ahead… But now things have changed, they are all teenagers—I’m no longer needed like I once was.

The Styrofoam fish stickers in various shades of apple red, parakeet green and Prussian blue are still stuck on my shower wall. I placed them there while my babies were still, babies. I convinced myself that removing them was a hundred-to-one undertaking, and nothing short of a blowtorch would take them off. The colors are still as vivid as they once were. The memories all came deluging back overwhelming the spray that came out of the shower’s head.

In times bygone that chaos gave me purpose—time, it took off without me, without my permission. Despite this the reminiscences remain in my heart, and they are both many-splendored and spirited. It’s something I pray never peels off. First and foremost, they’ll always be my babies, isn’t that correct? And this, it suits me perfectly fine.

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Julie Harris
Julie Harris(@julie-harris)
10 months ago

This story is so sweet, Melissa. One that all of us parents can relate to. I love the Styrofoam “fishies” you (or your protagonist) put in the shower. What a great reminder of the time when they were little. As you said, though, the kids are always our babies. I know my Dad thought that about me, when he was in his 90’s and I was in my 60’s!

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
10 months ago

The love you have for your children shines through so strongly in your story Melissa. Yes, they do grow up far too quickly. It’s lovely that those fish stickers remain to remind you of when they were younger, just as those memories will always remain in your heart.

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
Reply to  Melissa Taggart
10 months ago

Melissa, I’m so sorry to hear what you are going through. I hope your writing in some way helps during this difficult time. You will be in my thoughts and I’m certain many others.  ? 

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
10 months ago

This story is so sweet and lovely, Melissa. As a mother, I already feel the sadness. My children are too young as of now but, I can imagine the speed rolling of time. It makes me afraid to wake up one day that they are teenagers already. Sad to think about it. But that is the process of life that I think I need to accept. What is important is that while they are young, we will enjoy their childhood and makes memories. 

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Melissa Taggart
10 months ago

You’re welcome, Melissa.

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
9 months ago

Your story is so full of emotions, Melissa: love, nostalgia, care, joy and sadness. I love the way you let all those feelings and memories be symbolized by the baby-pictures on your shower walls. Both are deeply engraved in your protagonist’s mind and can’t easily be peeled off since they are colorful and strong. Most mothers/parents cherish their memories from their children’s baby years, although that time was filled to the border with “tantrums,” “chaos” and wishes for the little ones to grow up and become independent. Maybe it has to do with the parents’ own willingness to return to a time when they were younger? Or the willingness to have a “purpose” as you say? (I was reminded of my own 100-word story, “Leaving Home,” when I read your story.) In any case, I would like to recommend your protagonist to enjoy the marvels of the present time, as fruits of past love and care, and to look ahead with anticipation and optimism. One day, there might be in-laws to get to know and love, and then maybe grandchildren to marvel at? Maybe it’s time to take out and use that blowtorch after all? I just read your answer… Read more »

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