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My Children Are Getting Tall, But…

When I was a child, my mother regularly marked my height and my brother’s on the door frame in the kitchen. Every Christmas morning, we would stand against the frame in our stockinged feet, and she would use a ball point pen to draw a line over the tops of our heads. An initial would be added – P for my brother, K for me – along with the date. By the time I was 15, there were over a dozen blue lines on the door frame, telling the story of how and when we had grown. For years, the kitchen door frame was the only part of the house that never got painted.

I started to follow the same tradition with my kids when they were little, but it became one of those non-essential things that I just didn’t have the energy for. Things were difficult for me back then. My dad had died, my older son had been diagnosed with autism, I was experiencing post-partum depression after the birth of my younger son, we were trying to recover from a financial crisis – drawing lines on a wall just didn’t feature anywhere on my list of priorities.

I may not have my boys’ growth recorded all in one place, but I do have photographic proof that they were once little. Like this picture, taken seven years ago:

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And now the kid who once needed a chair in order to reach the counter is big enough to ride a bike. With no training wheels.

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And the one who was barely peeking over the counter is almost as tall as the fridge. Taller, if you count the pineapple on his head.

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My firstborn son’s hands are bigger than mine now. I can comfortably slip my feet into his shoes, and he is less than three inches shorter than me. My younger son is catching up rapidly. He has outgrown his shoes four times in the last year, and when he falls asleep on the couch, I can no longer pick him up and carry him to his bed. He can sprint around a 300m track faster than I can.

And yet.

They are still my babies, and they always will be. When they come stumbling into the kitchen first thing in the morning, their faces puffy from sleep, I don’t see the teenagers they will one day be, I see the newborns they once were. When they are standing in front of me with tear-streaked faces or scraped knees, I still have the ability to comfort them with a gentle touch, with a kiss, with a Band-Aid sprinkled with magic dust. I can still make them laugh by acting like a goof.

When they greet me with a smile, throw their arms around me and hold on as if they are never going to let go, my heart still explodes with love.

And that is never going to change. Because even when they are taller than me, they will still be my babies.

This is an original post by Kirsten Doyle. All photos accredited to the author.

 

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My Baby Forever

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Sometimes, I look at my older son George and lament the fact that he is growing up so quickly. He is ten now, and he has grown too big to sit on my lap. He is the same height as my mother-in-law and he has outgrown four pairs of shoes in the last year. The most scary thing of all is that he has started to show signs of early puberty. Before I know it, I will be dealing with the mysterious combination of autism and adolescence. He is going to keep getting taller and stronger, his voice will deepen, and he will get old enough to shave.

But then I have mornings like today. I always wake up earlier than anyone else, curl up on the couch with coffee and my phone, and have some quiet time to myself. I check my emails, see what’s happening on Facebook, maybe play games for a while. It’s my way of gently easing myself into the day before the the rest of the world wakes up.

This morning I was playing a few Words With Friends moves when George came padding into the room. He flopped down on the couch beside me and draped his lanky arms around my neck for hug as he rested his head on my shoulder. We sat like that for a few minutes, just the two of us in our own little universe, and then he lay down on one end of the couch, appropriating the blanket that I had been using.

I looked over at my boy, at his hair that was all mussed-up and his face that was puffy from sleep, and he gave me a gentle smile. In that moment, he looked young and vulnerable.

And I realised that no matter how old and big he gets,  he will always be my baby.

This is an original post by Kirsten Doyle. Photo credit to the author.

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From Humble Beginnings: Guest Post by Jennifer Burden

A little more than a year ago, I was wandering around on the WordPress site during a quiet lunch hour, and I stumbled across a blog called World Moms Blog, a group blog that had a handful of writers from three or four countries. I was just starting to take blogging seriously at the time, and I was hungry for opportunities to write. I emailed the founder of World Moms Blog, Jennifer Burden, and kind of wriggled my way onto the list of writers.

A year on, World Moms Blog is more than just a blog. It’s become a social project. There are more than 50 writers from all corners of the world. Women from all walks of life tell their stories, share their dilemmas, and take readers on their journeys through the parenting jungle. Jennifer has started looking at ways in which to use the blog to make the world a better place, and she has even formed some relationships with representatives of the United Nations. Through World Moms Blog, she has promoted awareness of some important issues, like infant pneumonia, and vaccinations for children in impoverished nations. It is my pleasure to give Jennifer an opportunity to talk about her visions for World Moms Blog.

It’s been over a year since World Moms Blog was founded. At the beginning, I thought it would be easy to find international moms to write, but it was an uphill struggle at first!

Today, we write from 17 countries and have over 50 bloggers.

And I have been creating relationships with international foundations, such as the United Nations Foundation and the GAVI Alliance to find ways in 2012 for our global mothers to help raise maternal and children’s health awareness around the world.

We have added both, a Human Rights and Social Good column, in addition to our daily posts, Saturday Sidebar question and Sunday’s Travel Itinerary (written by Kirsten @runningforautism!)

The international writers have been stellar.  Their thought-provoking and well-written posts have attracted and persuaded more amazing mothers to join our mission.

And speaking of missions, this year the World Moms Blog writers helped create our mission statement, as follows:

*Connecting mothers around the world through their stories.

*Promoting understanding and tolerance of other cultures, religions and nationalities.

*Encouraging discussion of important motherhood/parenting/cultural topics.

*Creating a support system for mothers via the blog.

*Helping to promote our writers.

*To strive to create opportunities for social good to help mothers and children around the planet.

We couldn’t have accomplished what we’ve accomplished so far without all the pieces of the puzzle.  It would be impossible to do all the editing, scheduling, writing, welcoming, new writer selection and social media myself.

The synergy and enthusiasm of this global group of women, all mothers, is contagious!

Keep us on your radar.

Help us promote diversity and understanding.

Help us save the lives of children.

You can do this by sharing this post with a friend.

We hope you’ll be glad you did.

Jennifer Burden
Founder/Editor
World Moms Blog

www.worldmomsblog.com

Twitter: @WorldMomsBlog & @JenniferBurden

Thank you, Kirsten, for inviting me to guest post today on your blog.  I want to recognize your volunteerism and writing contributions to the scheduling and writing of World Moms Blog and send you a big THANK YOU!  You are an important piece of our puzzle, and it’s been so great working with you. Here’s to more fun in 2012!

(Photo credit: Jennifer Burden)