On the walk home from the library tonight, Neko and I were talking about her impending 6th birthday. We discussed what she might get for presents, and whether she minds having a birthday so close to Christmas.
She said her legs were tired, and asked me to carry her. I said, “I’m sorry, you’re going to be six now. I can only carry you in emergency situations.”
“Sometimes I think about the old times, and feel sad,” she replied. “I wish I could still ride on your back.”
“I think about the old times sometimes and feel sad, too. Getting older can be exciting, but it can also be sad, because you have to leave some things behind. I loved carrying you on my back, and feeding you bubby (our word for breastfeeding), and snuggling you in our bed,” I told her.
“But we’ll always do that,” she said, “Even when I’m grown up.”
“What? Snuggle in bed?”
“Of course. And when I’m old and frail, and can’t walk on my own anymore, you can carry me on your back,” I suggested.
“Mommy! No I can’t! I’m not carrying you on my back!,” she laughed.
“Oh, come on! I carried you around for years! You can’t carry your poor, old mother?” I pleaded with her.
“Who’s ever heard of someone carrying a grandma?!” she exclaimed.
“We can be the first,” I said. She giggled.
A few steps later, she told me, “Mommy, sometimes I get sad when I think about when I’ll be a teenager and I won’t love you anymore.”
Oops. We’ve told her that she won’t always listen to us like she does now, and that when she’s a teenager she probably won’t want to be around us as much.
I reassured her that she’ll still love us just as much, hopefully, but that she just won’t want to spend as much time with us, and she will probably think we don’t know much about anything. I told her that I hope we’ll have a good relationship and that even though she won’t want to spend as much time with us when she’s a teenager, hopefully she’ll still want to hang out with us sometimes.
“I’m going to keep living with you when I’m older, even if I save up enough money to buy a house,” she told me.
One day I’ll look back at this post and shed another tear like I did tonight.