I was rinsing dishes recently and came upon this Babar spoon. I can’t even remember where we got it but we’ve had it since Jacob was a baby. He’s now 13.
Look at it.
Poor Babar is still wearing his green suit, but his trunk has been amputated and he’s lost part of one floppy ear. The paint is chipped and the spoon is too short and bulky for big boys’ hands to eat anything except maybe ice cream. Eli (7) still uses it, but my older boys (10 and 13) wouldn’t be caught dead slurping cereal with our old friend Babar.
I should probably throw him away.
But every time I ponder it, I feel a pang of sadness. So instead I gingerly hand wash and dry him, and place him carefully back in the drawer.
Letting go of Babar is a symbol that that phase of my children’s lives is over. Plastic cups with adorable characters like Babar, Mickey Mouse, and Dora have been replaced by ugly big gulp mugs emblazoned with sports teams, and grown up glasses.
Seeing Babar’s little yellow crown reminds me of the hundreds of times I made goofy faces and noises to coax just one more bite of Yo Baby yogurt into my boys’ mouths as they squealed in the high chair.
I don’t have anyone to feed anymore.
In many ways, that’s good. It’s a relief not to have to do everything for my kids now. It’s independence….it’s growth. There are many gratifying benefits to the boys getting older. I have amazing, mature conversations with them about current events, people, feelings, philosophy, as I watch them evolve into young men with their own interests and opinions.
I can drop Jacob off in town to eat dinner with friends and go to a movie I’d rather not see. Curious 10-year-old Aden reads books about weird and wacky animals on his own. Even 7-year-old Eli can tie his shoes and get dressed in the morning (ok, it takes him 35 minutes but it’s still progress!)
It’s all exciting and wonderful and I’m grateful for the privilege to watch them grow.
But sometimes, when I look at Babar… or the Pokemon cards no one will ever pick up again…or the extra-large fire engine puzzle collecting dust….or the scores of stuffed animals that rarely get attention, it makes me a tiny bit wistful.
Like Babar– king of the elephants– I hope to never forget what it felt like to be the mommy of little boys. Maybe the key is not to be attached to objects, but only to memories.
That sounds nice. But Babar still has his spot in the silverware drawer.
Wilson’s not sentimental so that spoon will probably get thrown away at some point. I’m sure I’ll be fine when he’s gone, but I won’t be the one to toss him.