I potty-trained my youngest daughter three years ago. She’s five now, but she’s still in love with Mommy enough to hold my hand in HEB or give me unprompted hugs and kisses. I haven’t wiped a butt or spoon-fed a baby in recent memory, but I still get snuggles for bedtime stories and someone tells me I’m “the best mommy [she] ever had” once a day.
My oldest, now seven, can read. If I’m leaving her in the care of her sleeping father early in the morning, I can leave a note to say “I went for a run. Go turn on ‘Full House'” and trust that she’ll be fine. She still wants me to walk her into her classroom every day and holds my hand in the halls.
This time, friends, is what I like to call the Golden Age of Parenting. Kids are old enough to be self-sufficient, but young enough to be hormone-free and snuggly. They still want to have tea parties with me but can play by themselves without assistance. They’re old enough to enjoy “America’s Funniest Home Videos” with me but aren’t quite ready for pre-teen, Disney Channel sitcoms. They can handle their own bathroom duties, clean up small messes, and even pour their own drinks (sometimes) but still need me to tuck them in at night and brush their hair. This is the Golden Age, and I’m smack dab in the middle of it.
For my family, when my kids were four and six, we started to realize that things were pretty great. Once my heart healed from the realization that I’d never have a baby again, I started being grateful that those days were done rather than melancholy that they were over. Traveling was easier. Tantrums were less frequent, and I could rationalize with the kids when tantrums did occur. We could sleep all night long, and even send the kids to friends’ houses for sleepovers when my husband and I needed a night out.
The problem with being in the Golden Age is that this age is finite. There will come a day when my kids don’t want me to hold their hands in the school hallways or tuck them in at night anymore, and I’m not sure when that time will come. My oldest is seven, and judging by the unfortunately very early age when I started puberty, I figure I’ve got maybe two years, at best, before her hormones get the better of her. So while I truly love this age, I’m sad that it’s here because that means it will be over soon. Eventually my youngest will lose her cute little speech impediment and stop telling me that she “wishes [she] could keep me forever and ever.” Right now my first grader is happy to tell me every detail of every conversation of her school day, but I know that this won’t last much longer.
Right now, in this age, I’m trying to enjoy every second that I can. Moms of toddlers and babies who are sad that the kids are getting older, know that the Golden Age is ahead of you and get excited for what’s coming!