Oh, I feel that too. But, mostly I'm struck by how I don't have babies anymore. Eleven days from now, Bear turns 7. My answer for, "How old are they?" will become, "Five and Seven".
They were my rainbow babies. They were my tangible parallel to Emma's non-existance. Cognitively I knew that they were individuals, but really - what do babies do? Their actions and sounds as infants, toddlers and beyond were all things Emma would have done: eat, sleep, cry, sit, crawl, walk, sign, talk...etc.
Watching them follow the prescribed pattern of development settled a parallel existance for their sister in some way. I knew there was a time delay, but the invisiblity of the ties made it easy to forget.
But now, they are entering a new phase of their lives. They are beginning the 'school years'. Otherwise known as the years when their actions are designed by their choices, and subsequently, the natural consequences they will face equally decided by the choices they made.
This is where Bear's and Comedian's paths diverge, not just from each other, but from Emma's too. No longer can I endulge in parallel visualization. Emma's nine year old self would be exploring her identity, defining her world one day, one decision at a time.
Comedian has been having what we fondly call a 'mini mid-life crisis' the last few weeks. She is unable to do anything for herself anymore that she had previously mastered: dressing, teeth brushing, putting on coats, boots, opening doors. You name it, she seems temporarily unable to complete the task. She is literally butting heads with the idea of turning five.
I am a modern kids like structure kind of mother. I am a set-the-expectation, then follow through kind of mother. I am a give two positive choices then wait kind of mother. And so, I stand, face firm and words firmer, "You can do it at school. You can do it at home. I'll wait" then turn my back and listen to the tantrum that ensues when the truth is I kind of want to do the same thing.
I'd love to throw myself down on the floor, beat my fists and feet while screaming No! Don't grow up. I'm not ready for the next phase either!"
Alas, numbers do not lie. One thousand eight hundred and twenty five days have elapsed since the day my last baby was born.
She is five tomorow. She will bust through the wall of indifference about growing up. I will let her and follow. I have no choice.