Please stop, World.  Just stop.  Just for a second.

Joseph is turning seven in a couple of weeks.  I don’t know how it happened.  I tucked him for a nap in his crib ten minutes ago, I swear, and now look at him.  Broadening shoulders and a defined chin.  Long, lanky legs.  Where did the baby go?

And I know, because I’ve done this before, that the precious remants of his babyhood that still linger will not linger for long.  My mother’s heart sees it coming.

Before too much longer, he’ll probably stop trying to build nests for the birds in our backyard trees. 

Before too much longer, he’ll probably stop asking to sit in my lap during church.

Very soon his first tooth is (finally, he would say) going to fall out, and a very big and grown-up looking one will take its place.

Before too much longer, I doubt he will slip his hand into mine in the parking lot. 

So stop, World, just for a second.  Your busy demands have kept me hopping so quickly that I’m afraid I might have missed something.  This third child of mine, sandwiched into a wad of noisy siblings, is so easy-going.  Have I given him enough of myself?  Am I forgetting to tell him something? 

Let time stop just long enough that I still have to lean down to kiss the top of his head.  It smells like dirt and little-boy sweat.  It stinks.  And yet, I could breathe it in all day.  It’s the scent of him, that little man, my youngest son, the child who has gently and ferociously swollen my heart until it hardly fits in my chest.

You get to have him for a long time, World.  But today?  Today he’s still six.  And he’s still mine.


88 thoughts on “Joseph

  1. Michelle says:

    This brought tears to my eyes! My “babies” are 11 and 12 now. Sometimes I look at them and it is as if I am seeing them for the first time. They’re big. Too big.

  2. Sharon says:

    Awww, man… tears in mine, too. My oldest is turning seven in a few weeks, and, well, thanks for the reminder that it happens too quick, and make those moments count, while we can.

  3. Sarah N. says:

    My baby boy turns 7 on May 10th and I am having these exact same feelings. Where has the time gone? How has he gotten so big so fast? Ian will always be my sweet baby boy no matter how big he gets!

  4. We are THAT family says:

    Stop it! Would ya? I was just stopping by for a minute, thinking I might laugh a little or maybe comment on the latest, greatest giveaway!
    No, Now I’m sending my only son, crushed between two demanding girls outside to break a sweat so I can get a whiff of him. Just this morning before church, I pulled his big body into my lap. For the first time EVER, I grunted under the weight and winced as bony elbows and knees sought for a comfy place.
    If you figure out how to STOP it, let me know. THAT recipe would be a great giveaway.

  5. Headless Mom says:

    My youngest is also 6 1/2.
    Yes, World, You must stop for a moment.
    BTW- sweaty-little-boy-head is my favorite smell in all of the world. If you have one, you know.

  6. Julie at Elisharose says:

    My boy turns 13 in just a few weeks. Where did the time go? I still have a 7 year old little girl that wants to hold my hand and snuggle in my lap, but I miss my son liking me and wanting to spend time with me. *sigh*

  7. Jennifer says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. I don’t have children yet, so I don’t understand completely. I do have a 6 year old nephew though, and he’ll be turning 7 in July. They grow up way too fast!

  8. Mystele says:

    My oldest is turning 7 on Saturday, and these same thoughts have been running through my mind. I find myself just staring at him trying to memorize everything I can about him because I can feel the time fleeting. It’s scab-ripping painful at times, you know? but, I’m so excited to see what God does with this little man. He’s mine to grow but not mine to keep. He belongs to God and His plan. Ouch, but he’s in the best Hands.

  9. Michelle says:

    Always remember his birthday! Still unsure weather it was the blue icing or running up and down the hill in my backyard that sent you in labor. Likely it was neither, just a wonderful baby boy ready to make his mark on the world. Happy Birthday!!

  10. Marcy says:

    Perfectly put. The pain of motherhood-
    If we do our jobs well, we work ourselves out of a position. We want them to grow up and move on….or do we? Oh the pain of love.

  11. Pam says:

    When my grandchildren were 4 months and 2 years old their parents moved into our neighborhood after living 4 hours away. My daughter is a special ed teacher and I was blessed to provide care and love for them every weekday. They just turned 10 and 12….and yes I cried…..I know we say it all of the time….but the time does go by soooooo very quickly….I thank the Lord everyday for the special bond we share…God Bless all of you moms with young children….they are truly a gift from God. Pam, South Bend

  12. Raising Country Kids says:

    I’ll sign that stopping-the-world petition as well. My baby boy just turned 5, and someone at the school had the audacity to print “ready for kindergarten” on his preschool screening sheet.

  13. Kim says:

    The closest I can come to understanding your plight is knowing that the 30 beauties I have spent hours and hours working with and for will fly from my classroom in 7 short weeks and will be “mine” no more. *sigh*

  14. Darla says:

    My baby, my one and only baby boy, turns 14 this Saturday. And in a few short weeks, my baby girl? Gets. her. driving. permit.
    I want the little ones who crawled in the bottom of the toy box to hide back.
    Who sat in their diapers and smeared pizza all over their faces.
    Who bounced on the bed.
    Who fit so perfectly in the crook of my profile when we fell asleep together at naptime.
    I’m not ready for college brochures.
    Or dating.
    Ok. Let’s just let them crawl back inside me and start over.

  15. Darcie says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your son.
    One of my favorite sayings is that the job of a mother is to give her children both roots and wings. Clearly the wings are the hard part because it seems that as soon as our kids start to fly out on their own we just want to clip those darn wings if only to keep them little for a minute longer.

  16. tracey says:

    Sigh… The universal cry of mothers, from the dawn of time. Where did our babies go? How did they grow so quickly? How can I slow this down? just SLOW. IT. DOWN?!?!?

  17. Kelli says:

    Ok. That’s weird. It says Kelli on my screen, but Darla on the post. Feel free to delete this. Just trying to figure it out.

  18. Marian says:

    I could have written this today. My boy #3 turns 5 tomorrow somehow, even though I only gave birth to him… like… yesterday… We spent today celebrating. With the older guys beckoning him forth, he’s losing his baby ways awfully quickly… sniff.

  19. Lari says:

    Such a beautiful post. I completely understand. My baby boy turned 5 this past week. Sigh…where did the time go?

  20. Michele says:

    Ugh. This post made my tummy hurt. Like all the other people commenting, I too, understand. My big guy is 5 and every second of every day it kills me. Praise Jesus he is still very much attached to me. He loves laps, and kisses and snuggles. I will DIE when the day comes when he doesn’t anymore.

  21. dcrmom says:

    I have been planning to post something that basically asks time to stop right now. Mine are 8, 5, and 2. I can’t imagine a more perfect set of ages. I just want to stay right here. SOB.
    So yeah. I totally feel your pain. And I just adore that picture.

  22. jen says:

    “It smells like dirt and little-boy sweat. It stinks. And yet, I could breathe it in all day. It’s the scent of him, that little man,…”
    Mmm-hmmm – I’m so with you on this one!

  23. Cayce says:

    My husband and I have 20, 19, 18 and 14 year old daughters. We now have an 8 month old son. Having daughters in college and other states, I know how precious everyday is. I LOVE doing nothing and watching him ALL day! At 44 having him is truly a blessing in disguise!!

  24. Jenny Wallace says:

    Ugghhh…. it seems so cruel how fast they grow. Mine are only 4 and 2 with one on the way and I get so sad thinking of how quickly the years have already gone…. oh my, did I say 4 and 2, I forgot Parker just turned 3. How depressing!

  25. jenny says:

    They grow up so fast! I look at my kids and wonder when did they get so big. My baby just turned 1 this weekend and really it seems like it wasn’t all that long ago his 9 year old brother was celebrating his 1st birthday. Yep, I would love to be able to stop time every once in a while. Just to drink it all in and savor it S-L-O-W-L-Y.

  26. cara says:

    AMEN! Thought it was just me! everyday I look at my 8 year old and wonder where she came from and where the 3 yr old went!!!!

  27. Susanne says:

    Beautiful post, Shannon.
    My baby boy just turned 16 a few months ago( how on earth did that happen?) and I still have those exact same feelings of “stop”. I’ll be watching my oldest graduate from high school in a few weeks. Graduate!!! I’m still in shock. Not that she graduated, haha, but that the time is already upon me. I thought I had so much more time.

  28. Andi says:

    this brought tears to my eyes. my boy will be 3 this summer & i love seeing him turn into his own person, but i dread the years when he doesn’t want to tell me everything.

  29. Melanie says:

    Okay. I get up Sunday morning and Shannon makes me think, or cry, or laugh, or all three.
    I go to bed and she makes me want to run upstairs and kiss my kid.
    At this point, you could influence me (almost) to change political parties.

  30. hogophan says:

    Yes, those days will change, but the joys will remain, just in different ways. My little boy is 33 now and maybe we’re closer than ever and the joys are incredible. Same goes for my daughter, who’s 35 now with children of her own. But wait, you know that……… love, dad!

  31. mimi2six says:

    His 7th birthday is hitting me hard, too. The years are going by way too fast. He’s a precious little guy, and you and Hubs are wonderful parents to him and his siblings.

  32. jen says:

    That was beautiful. My daughter is turning 4 in a couple weeks and I can already see how quickly time passes. Thanks for sharing that.

  33. HeresTheDiehl says:

    awww, loved this post. it all just goes by too fast, though the days sometimes drag on. why must it work that way?
    and i love the smell of sweaty-little-boy hair, yucky as it is. i swear it only takes running around for 5 minutes outside and they smell like that!

  34. Jenni says:

    How true it is. And what a miracle that we get to be witnesses and even accomplices, at times, to their growth and blossoming. What a priveledge, a joy, and a heartbreak, all at the same time!

  35. Gretchen says:

    I have spent the weekend trying to gather photos together in boxes, only glancing at a few of them as I packed them up for a impending move. My oldest son is almost 25, another, enormous young man is 22, and my baby boy is almost 18. Huh? How, when? I see the photos and I KNOW I didn’t spend enough time with each of them. I did spend way too much time in volunteer “work,” cooking and cleaning.
    I wish I had cherished every day instead of seeing the chores. I am happy for you that you have that chance.

  36. Martha says:

    Tears from this mom who packed up baby clothes tonight to give away knowing we won’t need them again. Hugs.

  37. Eliz says:

    Oh my word. Tears are falling! My baby is 6 1/2 and it’s tearing out my heart to see him grow. I adore that sweat smell too.
    I’m right there with ya girl!

  38. Jennifer says:

    I know exactly where you are coming from, my boys are 18.. 18!!!! and 14! How in the world did that happen!!! My daugher is 10 and I am holding on to that for as long as its worth.. LOL!! I am going to miss when they are grown, the times when they were little and they would just snuggle with me and talk, especially when hubby is gone and I’m by myself.. who will snuggle then? ::sniff:::

  39. Julie Cortens says:

    sigh….my little guy (my third boy) turned 22 in January…and I still, so vividly remember him reaching up, arms in the air asking me to carry him. Oh, ladies, love em and kiss em and forgive em and yes spoil em every day. Be soft and gentle and loving, cause one day they are 22 or like their older brothers, 24 or 26 or 18 like their little sister and you think…oh to only go back and do it all over again – I would be an even better mom this time round. But God says no – I have you all trained to be a Grandma! Sigh again…if it weren’t so close to midnight I would phone each of them long distance and tell them I love them!

  40. Susie says:

    Today my baby, my first born turned seven….still waiting for his first tooth to fall, still sitting on my lap and giggling when I steal kisses. I enjoyed this post and don’t usually comment when there are already 48 (!) comments, but felt in many ways it was written for me. Thank you! And Happy Birthday in 2 weeks to your seven year old!

  41. Dawn says:

    My oldest will be six in a couple of weeks and I can hardly handle it. I have two younger ones (2.5 and 10mo) and though our household is always busy, noisy, and messy, filled with diapers and shrieks and snot, I honestly don’t think I’ve ever said or thought “oh, I can’t wait for them to grown up.” I LOVE this stage. Love it. My husband and I often wonder what we’ll do without three bodies climbing all over us. 🙂 Really.
    Thanks for the post.

  42. Mary says:

    My one and only just turned 12. He keeps telling me how many months/weeks/days it is until he turns 13. It’s wrong. Just wrong.

  43. Sheila says:

    I feel your pain, too.
    But I think I have it worse! Trust me. My 2-year-old daughter just turned 13! At least, she was 2 yesterday, wasn’t she?
    And now she’s drop dead gorgeous. She saved up her baby-sitting money to highlight her hair and buy a straightener. And boys are asking her out. Seventeen and Eighteen year old boys.
    My husband is shopping for guns :).
    She won’t date. She knows she’s not allowed to until she’s 18 and she has the most incredible head on her shoulders. She’s also homeschooled. But still. She’s stunning. And it’s hard to hug her in the same way now.
    Oh, great. Now I’m starting off the week all teary!
    Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

  44. Tara says:

    Wet puppies. That’s the scent of little boys. Wet puppies. My oldest turned 7 last September.
    And he lost his first tooth when he used his face instead of his brakes on one of his first two wheeler attempts. 🙂 Good times. 8 months pregnant and running down the block to rescue a bloody boy. Good times. 😉

  45. Susan T says:

    Mine are 8 and 6 right now, and I totally agree with you. It is so awesome to see them grow, but I wish time would stop sometimes just so I could have a few more moments with them.

  46. Ronda says:

    As usual, Shannon, you are right on the money. I was just thinking the same things about my 6-soon-to-be-7-year-old “baby”!

  47. mumple says:

    I couldn’t read the whole thing–I just watched my *baby* boy turn 19 last January. And while in some terms, he’s no where ready for the world (nor is he all that eager to be out in it) it still hurts that he used to be my little buddy…..and we used to have “a-ventures” together.
    I still have the Howler, but she’s more interested in running off ahead of me (and getting *there* before I do) than walking beside me holding my hand.

  48. Jen says:

    What IS it with that smell? I still smell the head of my 12-year old daughter, my youngest, and drink it in. It is Sweaty Little Kid, who still hates to have to take a shower, who dresses for comfort and softness rather than for style, who still has sleep in her eyes rather than mascara clumps.
    There is just nothing finer than that smell.

  49. Cory says:

    My oldest turns 7 in June. He hasn’t lost a tooth yet either. I’m right there with you, sister. The days are long, but the years are short.

  50. Scratchin' the Surface says:

    You said: “It smells like dirt and little-boy sweat. It stinks. And yet, I could breathe it in all day. It’s the scent of him…” my baby boy is 25, and still when he leaves to fly back to his home, he bends down just a bit so I can kiss the top of his (now 6’3″) frame goodbye, smack in the middle of the top of his head, and I remember those times when he smelled like hot dirt. Precious, precious times.

  51. canadacole says:

    you said it perfectly. i think it almost every day. how do they keep growing, and why must they do it when we’re looking the other way.
    most importantly, what am i forgetting to tell them?

  52. Kara Messner says:

    Loved this post!!! I have been a reader/fan for awhile now and haven’t commented much, even though I know how much I love commenters on my own blog. Shame Shame. 🙂 You have a beautiful way of explaining a mother’s heart. Great picture!!

  53. Amanda says:

    OUCH. Man, you hit that one straight on. Mine are still little, but I know God told me with my first one, she’ll need you just a bit less everyday. So, I really do look forward to meeting my girls at every age. But lets face it… little ones are straight from the kingdom of heaven. I love the sound of my daughter’s sweet voice when she chimes in to correct me… with my own words. All I can do is say, “You’re right, I’m sorry. Let’s pray together so I can say I’m sorry to God and we can ask for God to help me change my bad attitude.” And my heart just sores! I love you God. Thank You for our children! Thanks for sharing your heart, Shannon. That one was hit straight in my window! You gonna pay for that? *smirk* 🙂

  54. Stephanie J says:

    So well said. Where do you find the words? God has truly blessed you with a gift of communicating what your heart feels! Thank you for sharing.

  55. Kristen says:

    You have a way of communicating with such eloquence what the rest of us are feeling. I feel this way about all of my children right now. Sometimes I look at them, and can’t believe how big they are. It is heartbreaking and beautiful, all at the same time.

  56. Kaye says:

    Beautiful! Mine is only 2-1/2 and I see it already. As much as I want to see who he will become, I want to hold on to him forever.

  57. Nanette says:

    Stop making me cry!
    I am also a boy-head-sniffing mother. I just want to drink it in.
    It all just goes too fast, and it is something I try to convey to every new mother.
    You said it way better than I ever could.
    I just love you and this blog.
    Thank you.

  58. Denise says:

    Oh, how I can relate…the smell, the change, his smile. My middle boy will be seven this fall. He is easy going and also sandwiched in between two others who demand more of me. Is he getting enough??

  59. that girl says:

    well put, and I just posted something similar on my blog today — must be spring in the air, all things new and growing… including our boys ;(

  60. Anna says:

    I couldn’t agree more. My oldest will be 9 in May and it’s hard to see her grow up but at the same time it makes me proud to see the woman she will become. Thank goodness for my 3 and 1 year olds. I can’t imagine what it’ll be like when they are no longer “babies”.

  61. Laura says:

    Your words really paint a picture of the love you have for your son. This was an amazing post.
    Your blog is a great read!

  62. Gego says:

    You summed up Motherhood in one poignant post. I have very fond memories of a 20 year old unshaven, grown man plopping in my lap delighting that he could make me squirm with the stubble and all I could remember (while I was struggling for breath) is the memory of a much smaller child and wondering how did we get this far. Why do they grow up so quickly? Did I blink somewhere along the way?
    Each memory of their childhood is to be treasured and greater blessings are yet to come.

  63. JeanneE says:

    Omg… my boy (also Joseph 😉 is only three and a half and already I’m in a panic about losing my baby!! I can relate so much to your post 🙂 🙂

  64. Elon Block says:

    The picture was great and reminded me of my oldest grandkid when he was Joseph’s age.
    Always close to the ground checking out insects, bug, worms etc. A couple of weeks ago, he asked me if I was interested in taking a walk outside with him to explore.
    We probably could have spent all afternoon together, if it werent for him having to go home.
    Where does the time go?

  65. Koryn H. says:

    LOVE that photo by the way!… Yes, my THREE sons have all grown into young men (16,18 and 20 now) and I will just never forget the day when I looked up from my kitchen table in a sort of shock and awe moment when a MAN came walking in my kitchen so confidently like he owned the place, and I was startled thinking it was a burgler! You blink and they are adults. It’s so not fair. The youngest son gets his drivers’ license in two weeks. Yikes! I’m gonna keep my 15 year old daughter a baby forever!

  66. Rachel says:

    Ok. You totally got me on this one *sniffle*
    My baby boys are 8.5 and 6 now. The last remnants of babyhood are fading from my younger every day, it seems. And to look at a picture of the older from even a year and realize how there’s none of that baby-ness left now 😦
    They are amazing people and I am loving watching them grow, but my older is now more and more not taking my hand in the parking lots and want them to stay little and safe and innocent forever.

  67. Boodie says:

    My two are almost 20 and 17 respectively, and I STILL don’t know where the time went, and how the hell it went SO damn fast..
    It all went TOO fast.
    But they’ll still be my babies.. no matter how old.

  68. Carolina Mama says:

    He’s a doll. Totally understand, the Twins just turned 7. And the front teeth went – 4 total – within ‘2’ weeks. It’s a real challenge – I have not done this before and only get to do it once so far for my two. Cherish the day!

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