As your children grow older, you might have a harder time accepting that they have likes and interests that vary from what you thought they liked or were into. They are changing. It can be so subtle at times, that we don't realize it until it slaps us in the face.
I've been purging the house of things that we don't need, never use, or I really don't think we will have a use for anymore. We also cleaned out the storage closet under the stairs recently. I needed the Christmas decorations brought to the front, as soon we will find it is time to set up the tree and decorations. I also wanted to pull out the pre-pregnancy clothes that I have decided not to "hope" I will ever fit into again. This rear of mine has grown with the last pregnancy and I think its all hips. It's not going anywhere. (Which makes my husband a happy man.) While doing this, I noticed that we had accumulated 3 totes of books. I'm talking the 18 gallon-sized bins. Of books. So I got to thinking... I had been packing away books and swapping out kids books every so often with the hope that eventually we would own our own home and the kids could have a bookshelf with a lot of books they can read whenever they want. Its a great dream. But right now... its just a dream. We are probably not going to have a house for another year. Maybe two. So I pulled out all the books and sorted them. I even pulled out my books. I had tote filled with my personal collection and decided that if I'm going to truly make space, I need to start reading and/or pass along the ones I no longer plan to read.
This was the first moment that I came to realize my kids were growing up and changing without me noticing. I had asked them to go through the stacks and put any books they loved and wanted to keep on the shelf. Anything they no longer wanted, would go in a separate stack on the floor. I was seeing books going into that stack of "get rid of" that shocked me. "But I thought you liked that one?" was my response a couple times. "Yes, but I think I want something else now." was the answer they gave. Wow! Who were these kids? When did they change and get bored with these favorites? But I accepted it. After all, they are growing up now. They read on their own. Okay the two oldest children do. My kindergartner is just now learning. It is time to adapt to their new interests.
Then came another revelation. I went in my daughters' room. My oldest daughter is 5 years old now. She dresses herself and knows her style. We differ on what looks good, but I often respect her choices when she puts together an outfit. I go in there to grab something for the baby. That's when I saw it. Her overflowing drawer. That girl had too many clothes. More than any of the rest of us had. Her drawer was so full, she couldn't close it! It sat half open with clothes hanging out of it. I sat on the floor, pulled everything out, and began to stack them in piles. Pants here. Shorts there. Shirts in this stack. Skirts in a group. It was everywhere on her floor. I called her in. Mind you, this was as she was getting ready for bed on a school night. My husband gave me the "Really?" look. Yes, really. This was getting out of hand and I kept putting it off. "Let's go through your wardrobe, lady!" She loved doing this with me. She loves talking style with me. Me. The one who throws on whatever and has no fashion sense to save my life. She tells me what this shirt is good for. And this sparkly skirt is so "pretty". So I told her we were going to make sure each shirt she kept had to have matching bottoms. We kept all her pants. Winter is coming and I won't have her shivering because she got rid of the pants to keep the skirts. Which she would do. She wears dresses and skirts every chance she gets. Then I told her to pick 4 skirts and 4 shorts to keep. That should be enough. We matched a shirt to each one she picked and she made a pile of the clothes she no longer wanted. I'm sitting here thinking, "Surely that shirt is her favorite" - Nope! She tossed it out. "Okay, this shirt is a goner" - Nope! She "LOVES" that shirt mommy. Where have I been?! How did I not see this??
Then I was hanging the boys' shirts another day. They are both roughly the same size now though they are a year apart. They had over 25 shirts between the two of them! Time to pare down. I told each of them to pick their top favorite 10. No more than 10?! My younger son was freaking out... The shirts they didn't want were the ones I would have kept, while the ones they kept were the ones I thought were worn out. Instead of getting rid of the shirts they tossed out, however, I decided to set them aside in the top of their closet. They come home with holes in their clothes or rips from playing rough and falling down. So when that happens, I'll just swap out a shirt from the reserves.
It was these most recent things that had me thinking. My kids are changing. And I didn't even notice. Same goes with games and pop culture things. They now love Plants vs Zombies. They talk about it all the time. We don't have those games at my house. So where is this coming from? Oh yeah, ex husband. They play it at his place and are addicted. I asked them why they never play the Lego Dimensions game. Know what they said? "We don't like it as much. Its boring." What?! Since when?? So I'm now packing that game and all its characters up to get rid of.
When was the last time you noticed what your son or daughter was asking you for Christmas? My daughter likes My Little Pony now. She has moved away from the Minnie Mouse and Disney Princesses. She still likes princess stuff, but if given the choice between that and My Little Pony, she will choose the latter.
Everyone keeps reminding me that I need to treasure these moments while I have them. One day they will be grown and gone and I will wonder what happened. In the meantime, I also need to pay more attention to what they like and dislike. To what they treasure and are willing to easily give up. Time really does pass us by so quickly. My oldest is turning 9 years old this Wednesday. NINE! Makes me feel so old... He is a gamer, Star Wars fanatic, excellent at spelling tests, and a story teller like no other. I couldn't be more proud of these things. He has his flaws, but he is growing. I can't wait to see what he grows into.