Jen writes

April 26, 2012

Age

Shortly after her older sister and brother began music lessons, my 3-year-old daughter asked when she can start guitar lessons. There’s simply no written translation that does justice to her 3-year-old dialect. If only I had a sound byte to share.

Her dad and I told her she has to be 7 or 8 before she can take lessons. She knows we have a number of guitars in the house already and I know she’s smart enough to challenge us and, I wouldn’t be surprised, succeed at a quick melodic riff. But she didn’t challenge us directly. She stood before us, looking down  at her hand——not so chubby anymore, I noticed——and popped out her thumb, index finger and middle finger. “One, two, free,” she said. Then she looked up at us, grinning, and said, “EIGHT!”

My 6-year-old daughter asked me a few nights ago at what age is someone considered an adult. I wish I could remember her phrasing of this question. I told her 18. There is a high school student intern who works in her kindergarten classroom every day, Miss O. “Miss O is 18,” she told me, assuredly. And I thought to myself, I met Miss O, and she’s lovely. But she’s not an adult. No way.

My son just celebrated his 8th birthday. He shares his birthday month with, among others in our family, a younger cousin, Sarah, GG and his great-grandmother (GG’s mom). How absolutely amazing to have a birthday party with your vibrant great-grandmother. I sat in the room as she––my grandmother––opened her gifts, and her great-grandchildren all crowded around to see. I hope when B reaches adulthood he remembers this day, this moment. I don’t expect him to dwell on it now. He’s 8. It’s all about the Legos and the bookstore gift certificates. But he is rich with family.

Our children want to grow up so fast. I want my 3-year-old, in particular, to slow down. She is so capable. So positive. So willing. She is my baby, my last. But of course, she wants to catch up with her older siblings whom she strives so hard to emulate.

I look at my 6-year-old pianist, artist,  dreamer. Her teeth falling out faster than I can keep up. I look at my 8-year-old drummer, book lover and recent master of the monkey bars. All I have to do is close my eyes and I see them in infancy. Those first moments. My first, floppy baby, born just a little too soon and with yellowish skin and a moderate need for oxygen. The robustness of my first daughter, with her red hair and her bright eyes, born a few days after her due date and looking like a different creature altogether than her brother had at birth.

I look at my 3-year-old and I hear the words of a nurse, “She’s big!” as she enters this world. Just a half-ounce away from 10 pounds, she was big. She still is. She’s tall. With big, wide eyes that get bigger with expressions of excitement, anticipation, even sadness. Her voice booms, in a 3-year-old squeaky way, as if she’s talking in front of a crowd. She’s big in ability and ambition. She’s big in this family. And I’m betting that it won’t be long after her speech ability catches up with her physical ability that she’ll be picking up a guitar and teaching herself the basics.

____________________________________

Tell us about age!

(And if you need a reminder, here are the topics for the rest of the week.
Although there’s really just one more day!)

Enter the link to your post below.

And please do visit as many other blogs as you can. Comment. Join in the conversation.

And hey! It’s Bigger Picture Blogs Thursday! Go here to have another day of double linky fun.

Simple BPM

 

Read More in Jen Writes, motherhood, three kids
Meagan Frank writes

I didn’t realize that you have boy-girl-girl like we do. The ages of my kids are similar…but older. 12-10 and 6. I love the spunk of our third kid too, and I wonder often if she would be the way she is if she hadn’t come last. She said the other day that it makes her mad that she will always be the youngest. She gets that she will NEVER catch up to the others in age. It must affect their psyche to make them determined to DO whatever they can to seem like they are grown up like their brother and sister. She’s grown up faster…and louder…and I’m just doing what I can to keep up. MMF

Reply

Jen replies

How amazing that your youngest can articulate how she feels. I can only hope that as mine grows older she gains that ability, too.

Reply

Adrienne writes

Sounds like you have full hands, and full hearts with your three! This is a lovely introduction to your family (new reader/follower thanks to 5 for 5). Mine are now 25 and 22, and I cherish all those memories of chubby fingers and wonder-filled questions. Every age carries with it great gifts, new struggles and lots of moments to capture. I marvel at all the blogs…all the young moms recording sound bytes, writing letters to the kids as they age and preserving their history. Such a gift to them!!

Reply

Jen replies

Every now it occurs to me that some day my kids might actually read the words I’ve been writing. When I started blogging none of my kids can read. Now two can, on their own levels, and it’s strange to think that soon they’ll be able to navigate their way here and read all of this. I hope they’re ready for it! I hope I am! Thanks so much for coming by!

Reply

Lindsey writes

Oh, Jen, this is lovely. What an extraordinary moment, to have four generations together in a room. I know what you mean about hoping that our children are aware of the meaning of experiences like these eventually, even if they are oblivious in the short term. My children have a great-grandfather and I absolutely cherish the photographs of all of us together.

Reply

Jen replies

I think the kids must take it all for granted right now. Which is OK, and age appropriate, and to be expected. But they also know that there are people who aren’t at those gatherings. My father. My grandfather. It’s all a lot to take in, and I anticipate many conversations that follow family gatherings for years to come.

Reply

Kelly @MillerMix writes

Isn’t wonderful to have these unique little people in your life? I often think back on my childfree days and wonder how I wound up here, with two children. But then I see them. Truly see them. And I feel so blessed to be the person guiding them toward adulthood. They are already fascinating. I can’t wait to see where they take the world!

Reply

Jen replies

Yes! I love to step back and imagine how today’s accomplishments of a 6-year-old might transform into the successful pursuits of my grown-up daughter. (And then I get weepy and freaked out and snap back to the wet watercolor paintings on the dining room table.)

Reply

Stacia writes

I’m 34 and still haven’t mastered the monkey bars. Or the guitar.
And being rich with family? That’s a precious gift at every age.

Reply

Jen replies

Me either. And I’m 39. Vicarious. It’s the way we moms have to do it sometimes.

Reply

Tiffany writes

“He is rich in family” is my favorite line. *Sigh* I hope my kids know they are rich in family too….

Reply

Jen replies

They do. Or they will. If they’re like my kids, family is something that is such a big part of their lives, they don’t have reason or opportunity to really consider the greater context. Maybe?

Reply

Alisa writes

I can’t tell you how much I am enjoying this Five for Five challenge. Your kids sound charming and unique and blessed. I love your descriptions of them. And he may not remember being “rich in family” but he most definitely feels it and will carry that with him for the rest of his life.

Reply

Jen replies

Thanks, Alisa. We’ve been having fun, too. It’s nice to take the time to write about the kids. Most days it’s all I can do to get through calmly. It’s good to put some of the good stuff down in words.

Reply

Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities writes

I love this. Because as you capture, age is such a fluid, elusive thing. A thing that has the power to baffle us, and paralyze us. What a wonderful topic. Truly.

Reply

Jen replies

Thanks, Aidan. I’m finding that people feel strongly about age! I suppose I do too, in my own way. But it is a great topic to explore. And although this is not the post I intended, it’s true, it’s my words, it’s my experience. And that’s what the Five for Five challenge is all about. Giving yourself over to the writing. I’m so glad you’ve joined up!

Reply

Amber writes

I think kids are always more ready than we are to get older.

Reply

Jen replies

Yup. Yessirree. Indeedy. When does that change, exactly?

Reply

TheKitchenWitch writes

Argh, they do grow so fast! Imagine my horror this week when I took Miss D. in for her 10-year old “well check” at the doctor and the nurse said, “Height: 5’3.” Whaaaa? 5’3? In 4th grade? Where did my baby go?

Reply

Jen replies

I swear my kids grow overnight. They wake up and their PJ bottoms are above their ankles. What IS that? It’s baffling. Amazing and infuriating and so sad for my mommy heart.

Reply

Heather Caliri writes

I love that line “rich in family” too. Ours are rich too. though not quite having that depth of generations. What a treasure for yours!

Reply

Jen replies

Our family is large and raucous and all a-swarm when we all get together. It’s wonderful to see my uncle, who lived with my family when I was a kid, on the floor playing with Legos with my daughter. It’s so fun, and it makes getting together effortless. I always know the kids will have tons of fun and that I’ll be able to enjoy an adult conversation!

Reply

alita writes

So much of this touches my heart. I appreciate the nod towards observing all our children’s ages and stages. Noticing the finger and thumb that aren’t chubby anymore. Wishing memories on children who are 8 and otherwise occupied. I think of all the heartfelt lines I lingered on “He is rich with family” and with that combination age really doesn’t matter. If you have love in your life that fulfills your every waking need (not want – there is a difference. Want is want, need is NEED) then age is really nothing but a number. A moment in time just added with another moment in time. This post was raw and sweet at the same time and your loving words echoed through out my heart as I read this. I often feel the very same way about my children. Watching them grow. Wanting them to slow down. Excited for the next milestone at the same time. It is all so perfect.

Alita

Reply

Jen replies

Oh, thank you. I have to tell you that the “rich in family” line was kind of an add-on. I think the last sentence I wrote in the post. Kind of an afterthought, really. Interesting that it has struck a note with so many readers.

Reply

Justine writes

I love reading about the closeness of your family, and I don’t mean the age. How wonderful to have the opportunity to have so many generations in the room at once. We know that it’s special, and we can only hope our kids will remember and appreciate moments like these themselves.

Reply

Jen replies

I’m running out of original comments to write. :) But I thank you, Justine. We are rich in family, and most of us know it. The rest of us will come to, I am sure.

Reply

Kate writes

Oh the rushing! I always, always wanted to be big like my sister. My middle girl insists she’s still little. Which I love about her. I tell her she’s just right. Not too big, not too little.

Reply

Jen replies

My middle girl tells me she’s “medium.” How perfect, right? But my littlest insists she is “big.” And the thing is, why does there have to be a measurement, a label, a comparison. I’m guilty of it, too, of course. But we’re all just the age we are, and for each of us that’s perfect.

Reply

Cathy writes

And so quickly they slip, slip a little older, lose that baby dialect, baby fat and baby altogether. My youngest is eight and it’s been so long since I’ve seen him as a three year old but I distinctly recall when my children stopped mispronouncing a particular word. Sad day indeed. They’re growing – moving like a freight train into that world of separate individuality. Bittersweet.

Reply

Jen replies

With my first, I was so quick to “help” him with his “R” sounds, etc. With my next two I’ve held fast to every “mispronounced” word, every “yesterday” swapped for “tomorrow.” It will all end so soon, these individual ways of speaking. I have to admit, it’s one of the details of growing up that I’m having the hardest time with. I’m powerless, of course. Maybe I need to take more video. The way my youngest says “cottage cheese,” “yogurt” and “granola” is precious. Seriously. (Gush.)

Reply

Maria writes

Oh Jen! Reading this made me miss our Granny, my husband’s grandmother who passed two years ago. She was a riot, and my boys still wistfully remember all her high-jinx at our family gatherings and blessed we were to have her in our lives for so many years. What a treaure! Indeed, you are all rich in family!

Reply

Jen replies

Age is such a gift. And yet we all seem to fight it starting at some mysterious time post-college or so. I wish I had days to sit in a room with my grandmother and talk to her, hear her point of view, experience her life through her. She’s only 47 years older than me. And yet the circumstances of her life are so incredibly different from mine. And I know neither of us will live forever…

Reply

amanda {the habit of being} writes

i love that your grandmother is there and able to know these magical children of yours. they sound full of life and creative energy…guessing they might’ve gotten some of that from her ;-)

Reply

Jen replies

She’s amazing. She has made gorgeous quilts for all of her great-grandchildren. Each of my kids cherish theirs. They call them their “Nanny” quilts, and I am so proud of my Nanny and of my kids for how much they love these timeless, unique gifts she has given them. Every time I make the kids’ beds and lay their three different quilts out on top of their blankets, I think of Nanny. Sometimes it’s difficult not to get choked up remembering her when I was a kid, visiting her overnight and making pancakes together in the mornings.

Reply

Arnebya writes

They do tend to push that grow up button too soon, huh? I love reading of so many generations of your family together. I see that in my husband’s side as well: his grandmother is a vibrant 92 and when we’re all together, it’s all I can do to not just stand around blubbering about the beauty of it all, thankful.

My 2 1/2 yr old is convinced he can already play guitar (much like my girls think they can swim just because they can go underwater. You’re gonna need more practice).

Reply

Jen replies

Practice can really suck. :) But don’t you just love having the youngest of the family in the same room as the oldest. It’s truly amazing. Four generations. Inspiring.

Reply

Laurie writes

I remember when we celebrated my grandmother’s 80th birthday and my grandmother, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were all together. It was a beautiful moment that only one of my boys was present for, hopefully we can do something similar this summer (her 90th is next year, but waiting doesn’t seem like a good idea) and capture again the beauty of generations all together and the wonder of such a full life.

Reply

Jen replies

Birthdays have become more of a celebration these past several years. I know it’s because we know our loved ones can’t live forever, but I choose not to think about that detail and rather focus on enjoying the loud parties of cousins and uncles and great-aunts and grandmothers and siblings and great-great-grandma.

Reply

Ginny Marie writes

Ah, it’s all so relative! My 20 year old nephew seems nothing like an adult. My 4 year old daughter seems so much older and mature than the 3 year olds I teach! And then, my 4 year year old gets frustrated because she can’t roller blade as fast as my 7 year old.

Reply

Jen replies

So much comparison and competition, right? Ugh. That’s not a part of all of this I enjoy!

Reply

BigLittleWolf writes

What a gift – the intermixing of generations. They will remember something of it I think – even if Legos and monkey bars and all the other things that fascinate children take priority today.

How slowly the time passes at moments – when we wish it would rush. How quickly it seems to have gone, when we look back at what has changed.

Lovely, Jen.

Reply

Jen replies

Thank you, friend. When does it ever all seem to work out? The time moving at the right pace. The birthday coming at the right time? The achievements all lining up? Ah, well, at least we are giving our kids rich experiences.

Reply

Kristin writes

I miss the silly words my kids used to say. Now that they’re older, those silly words are gone, replaced by bigger words that show their age.
My younger two are always asking when they can do things like their older siblings; it must be so hard to be the youngest (I was the oldest, so I have no perspective at all).

Reply

Jen replies

I’m the oldest, too. Sarah’s the youngest. Boy are we different. Not just because of birth order, of course. But I know our experiences growing up six years apart in age were very different. And I can’t deny that’s been instrumental in our becoming who we each are.

Reply

Heather writes

Those generational moments are all too precious and so very rare these days. I’m so glad you had such a moment.
Your thoughts about your littles growing all to quickly??? Oh how I feel your pain. I would not wish for them to be babies again but I’m not at all ready for the boys they are becoming.

Reply

Jen replies

I don’t wish for the baby days. But I’m also not ready for time to be moving quite so quickly. Can’t we just stand still for a bit? Make the great days last just a little bit longer, so we can gulp in all of the goodness that then maybe can sustain us longer through the not-so-great days?

Reply

Sara writes

After I had my first baby I got annoyed by the “it goes by so fast” comments…I was tired and overwhelmed and the days often dragged. I try to avoid it saying to new moms now but it’s hard because I truly understand now just how fast they grow up!

Reply

Jen replies

I know exactly what you mean. Oh, I hated those. Now I say, “Enjoy him/her.” That’s enough sentiment and no judgment. It does go by fast, of course. But like so many things in parenting, we really ought to be left to realize that on our own.

Reply

imene writes

I know exactly the feeling. I celebrate each milestone and yet i miss the previous stage ;o)

Reply

Jen replies

It’s so very hard to find a balance!

Reply

Boingerhead writes

It is just going by SO fast that every time I stop to think about it, it gets really hard to start moving again! I just want to sit all day and drink them in.

Except the eldest. She is getting to the funky middle school age. I’ll stop drinking her in long enough for a shower now and then :)

Reply

Jen replies

Oh the funky middle school age. Yikes. It seems a long way off, and yet my son is nearly halfway through elementary school. So there’s that. It’s hard to stop and drink them in when there’s so much messy living going on. But it’s important. SO important.

Reply

Mel Gallant writes

At the beginning of this Five for Five meme, I wrote about my daughter’s wicked temper tantrums of late (she’s 2.5). She had a particularly intense one on Monday but since then she has been her normal, cheerful self. And really talking up a storm (new words, phrases, etc).

I turned to my husband this evening and speculated that perhaps she went through some developmental phase recently and that’s where the tantrums stemmed from. He thought the same thing. I look at my child – at her best and her worst – and she is this remarkable, complex and pure being.

Reply

Jen replies

And totally impossible to understand sometimes? Yeah. I totally get that! Infuriating and humbling all at once!

Reply

Varda (SquashedMom) writes

Another beautiful essay. Thank you.

And also? Thanks for this 5 for 5 linky thing. I find that, for me, overly specific writing prompts make me freeze up, but simple ones, like a single word, image or even letter? Open something up inside me and lyrical, ruminating posts – often my favorites – come pouring out. Thank you, thank you. It’s been a while and I really needed this!

Reply

Jen replies

Thanks, Varda. Great of you to join up. I find a writing prompt helps, even if two sentences in I get totally off topic and my writing turns in a completely different direction. A prompt is just that: a nudge to get writing. And then I can watch where my words take me.

Reply

Melissa writes

What’s funny to me is that I have to *really try* to be able to picture my kids at other ages. Even when thinking back on their younger selves, I tend to picture them the ages they are now. Weird, yes? I can remember, I do, but it’s not effortless. Aging children, so hard to wrap my head around, in so many ways.

Reply

Jen replies

Um, yes. Imagine how overwhelming if we COULD remember them at all of their other ages and stages. Yikes.

Reply

Andrea @ Shameless Agitator writes

What a great story about age, what it means, how it feels when generations come together, and how one child makes space for herself in the world! My apologies for not posting these thoughts yesterday when I first read this post- I was on my way to Chicago to see the Dalai Lama speak at Loyola University. My best friend got us amazing seats. What an incredible experience!

As I read your words early this morning, I am reminded of how I felt when the Dalai Lama walked out on stage. My eyes filled with tears of joy, which caught me by surprise. He is the perfect example of being ageless and timeless. He embodies the wisdom of all time and when he laughs, it is with the joy of youth.

Thank you for sharing your story and the images it evoked. Wonderful!

Reply

Jen writes

Oh lucky you! To get to see the Dalai Lama. What a gift to hear him and soak up all of his experience and wisdom. Thanks so much for sharing this. What a unique treat!

Reply

Belinda writes

What an invaluable gift to your children to know and feel the love of their great-grandmother.

I’m on board with the idea of letting a child wait to get to do something. We’re living in times when so many objects, sensations, thrills, are easily attained and the idea of waiting easily falls by the wayside. But it’s so important to cultivate the patience to wait because so many things that fulfill us and are worth having (relationships, are take serious time and work to build.

Jen, it’s fun to picture your home with lots of music, lots of books and lots of love!

Reply

hyacynth writes

I ache and long for the babies who are no longer babies, willing time to stop spinning out of control, stealing the chubbiness of cheeks, the fs from the beginning of the word three.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: