“This stage is my favorite.” I must have used this line no less than 1,000 times in the last 5 years of having kids. It began when Navy was a baby and I thought I would be sad to watch him get bigger. The newborn stage is my favorite. I’m reminded of this now as Brighton charms me with her sweet teeny tininess.
She fits in my pocket and joins me everywhere I go; she looks like a Bitty Baby doll and at two months old is still smaller than most newborns I know; she sleeps so soundly; she snuggles so freely; she flashes us the earliest hints of smiles and it teases us into tickling every wrinkle to get another. Yes, this stage is definitely my favorite.
But then there’s Knox, and though the feeling is different, I catch myself thinking this stage is definitely my favorite. A completely different character; a completely different stage. He’s wild and rambunctious and slightly resembles an untamed animal. You never know what he’ll do so it’s important to make slow movements around him and not startle him into going savage (and I’m actually not joking).
But Knox, this very strong and energetic three year old boy, is wild at heart, too. He sees things I don’t see. He laughs at things I would forget to find humor in were it not for his joyfulness. He runs when signs say walk. He wants to explore and discover. He pushes limits and someday I know he’ll make breakthroughs. He’s reckless and cautious at the same time.
Knox looks at beauty. We often stop and look at beautiful things together and are practicing gratitude, me teaching him and him teaching me. “Thank you, Jesus, for that beautiful sunset” is a common phrase that Knox and I repeat. And even though it’s a challenging one, I stop and stare at him and I think, yes, this is my favorite stage.
Oh, but Navy. Five year old boys… I don’t know if there is anything sweeter. My heart breaks a little bit every day because he is so impossibly sweet and good, and loving someone so much hurts in places I didn’t know existed.
Navy is particularly sweet, as five year old boys go (coming from his mother). But really, I think he has a sweetness advantage because he is our oldest child, so he isn’t necessarily exposed to things beyond his maturity level like the younger kids in a family naturally are. It has kept him innocent beyond some of his same-age peers, and I cherish that innocence. He has made a giant leap in independence this year and it has taken me just as much adjustment as him. When we walk our one mile to the beach, he scoots ahead on his Razor scooter, and watching him soar ahead crushes me and makes me so proud all at once. He stops at cross streets and waits for us, because he is a child that aims to obey and honor, and it makes me so thankful that he is shaping up to be a boy who heeds direction well.
He’s big enough to play in the pool for hours on end with the older neighbor kids, but he’s little enough that he’ll take breaks and come curl up on my lawn chair with me just to be near me for a minute. He holds my hand in public; he always makes sure Brighton’s binky is nearby; he asks me how many more bites he needs to eat, but he (almost) always finishes his meals anyway; he lets Knox sleep on the same pillow as him, even if it means his head is resting on the nightstand instead of the bed. He’s a giver and a lover. And I think this stage is my favorite.
Yes, this newborn; this three year old; this five year old; this family; this life. This is definitely my favorite stage.