We had friends in seminary with a ten year old son. I can vividly remember going to their apartment and seeing their son playing independently on the computer. He showered by himself and could run around the campus without mom and dad tagging along. He seemed so ... old!
At the time, we only had three children. Our oldest was 4 and our youngest was very young - maybe a few months. In that moment, I thought to myself that my children would NEVER reach such an age of independence and young-man-hood.
You know how people always say when you have little ones, "Don't blink or they'll be all grown!" Yeah, whatever. I was living in the day to day of diapers and spit up and naps and temper tantrums. But somewhere along the line, I blinked. And when I opened my eyes yesterday my boy was two months away from being 10 and on the verge of pre-teen. Yikes!!! When did this happen?!!
The wake-up call came for me as I was folding laundry yesterday. The kids kept running in and out of the room and every once in a while I would get a whiff of what I can only describe as wet dog smell. Except that we don't have a dog. I kept moving over to the window to figure out where the smell was coming from. The laundry was all clean, so I knew it couldn't be that. I smelled myself and I was in good shape. Then, my oldest came to stand next to me. Whew! I just about passed out from the smell! (Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit, but it wasn't pleasant!)
I smelled his hair, I smelled his breath, I smelled his clothes ... and then I smelled his armpit. Wowsers! I asked him to smell his armpits and after doing so, he said, "Wow, Mom! That's pretty bad!" No kidding.
So, we got out a stick of deoderant (the same kind that Daddy uses) and I taught him how and when to use it. Then we talked with the younger siblings about NOT needing it yet and so not touching it EVER. And after they all left my room, I cried.
Wearing deoderant may seem like a little thing, but I didn't think he was old enough for that yet. When did he grow up? When did I blink without realizing it? My sweet boy is turning into a young man.
If you are a parent and reading this, I implore you ... Don't blink! What everyone says really is true: kids grow up when you aren't looking. And soon, you end up with little men and women while you are left wondering when you blinked.