Where has the time gone?

My son had a birthday this past weekend.

As I sat across from him at the breakfast table, I couldn’t believe that this child of mine was already twenty.

I sat mesmerized as I looked at his handsome face.

Dark, curly hair, beautiful chocolate brown eyes and eyelashes so long, they make women cry.

Where had the time gone?

It seemed like only yesterday we were trading Pokemon cards and now, a leisurely conversation was composed of discussing the theories of Freud and Carl Jung.

As he looked up from his plate, I heard him say, “What’s wrong, Mom?” and I replied, “Oh nothing, just admiring how handsome you are.”

Little did he know that in the time he had been sitting eating his pancakes, a hundred slides had flashed before my eyes.

His first day of kindergarten, the first time he made a basket, the day he learned to ride a bike, the day he learned to write his name, the time he won first prize in the science fair, the day he scored his first touchdown, his first solo flight, the day he graduated, the art contest where his sculpture won third prize.

Like frames in a film, episodes of his life flashed before my eyes.

My heart swelled with pride as I remembered the day he walked into the living room and announced, “I’m a big boy, Mommy. Tonight, I sleep in my bed.” He was two.

Or the night he came into my room and asked, “Mommy, do you want me to check if there are monsters in your closet?” He was four.

Or the time he said, “Mommy, when I grow up I want to be a doctor.” He was six.

The time he announced, “Mom, I changed my mind. I want to be a ninja.” He was eight.

And who could forget the time I picked him up from school and he shouted, “You’re late and the ugly girl in my class has been chasing me so she can kiss me!” He was ten.

I thought of the day he said, “I don’t care if I’m short. I want to try out for the basketball team.” He was 12.

Yes, time has surely flown.

And now this young man was twenty.

Soon he would graduate from the university, find a job, and move out.

The thought of him leaving broke my heart.

I was not ready to deal with the empty nest syndrome.

I was not ready to admit that my services as a mom would no longer be required.

I wasn’t ready for him to have grown up so fast.

And yet he had.

I smiled as I said, “Are you my best boy?”

My smile grew wider as I heard him say, “Mom, I’m your only boy.”

Yes, he had turned twenty, but in my heart, he would always be my baby boy.

The Son's idea of posing for a photograph

The view from my window

Today I’m linking up with Heidi’s Black and White Wednesday.

Black and White Wednesday

78 thoughts on “Where has the time gone?

    1. Kim, you gladden my heart with your words. Suddenly, my angst is less and I feel comfort in your reassurance that he will always be my baby. Thank you, dear friend. Hugs and kisses for you! :)

  1. I should NOT have read this first thing in the morning. You made me cry!!! My oldest just turned 15 and I did had ALL those same thoughts in my head while staring at his handsome face. We moms are alike in this I guess. Did we create this miracle? How did this person become so grown up? All those baby and toddler memories…. Makes a mom feel very melancholy. Lovely post, Bella. Hugs. Your son sounds like an amazing young man.

    1. Michael Ann, he is! Like me, you too will go through past memories and feel them with every fiber of your being. I think they become more tangible the older children get. With me, it’s more difficult as I realize that it’s just a matter of time before he moves out. I am not ready to go through the empty next syndrome. I feel I shall become very depressed. I hope this is not the case, lady. Thank you for your kind words. :)

    1. Corinne, he hates having his photo taken, which in my opinion is silly since he’s so darn handsome! Thank you for your birthday wishes! I will relay them to him. As I read your comment, I was reminded of an old tv commercial for Carters sleepwear. The slogan was, “Oh, if they could just stay little till their Carters run out.” I never felt this to be more true! :)

    1. Brynne, if you feel the love, lovely lady, then I’ve accomplished this post’s purpose. Just you wait till your little one starts to grow up! Are you ready? I feel a mother is never ready. Time spent with our children is never enough. Thank you for your kind words, lady! :)

  2. What a sweet tribute to your precious son. I love it! They do grow up so fast, but no matter what, he’ll be your boy forever. Btw, he is same age as my daughter. Does he have a girlfriend?

    1. Monica, I’m delighted you liked it! And like Kim, you provide reassurance to this mother’s heart. Muchas gracias, mi’ja! He currently does not have a girlfriend but be warned that this Romeo is a player! hee hee! :) Let me know if you’re still interested!

  3. He uses Roxy as a shield? Too funny! What a great post. How does time go so fast? I’m concerned about the chase-n-kiss scene…. Nope, that couldn’t have been me, as I’m much older. But I did torture a few boys that way in first grade. It was my favorite game, even if I was the only one playing!

    1. Lori, bwhahaha! I can only imagine you as a child chasing after the boys! I’m certain that you weren’t the only one playing, lady! Can you believe Roxy is turned into an, ahem, “human” shield so as to preserve the Son’s anonymity. Poor Roxy. The things she does for love. hee hee! :) I’m delighted you like the post!

  4. Do I hear you over here crying? :-)

    You know, it’s so nice and a relief to have children who grow into a positive direction. That they are self-directed. But your services will still be required. They are still learning their way, which, for blogging purposes, I call my son Mr. Boy.

    1. Mr. Boy! Oh Totsy, I love it! Your words are like a balm to my soul. Thank you for making me believe that my services will still be required. My “mom” hat is one of the hats I refuse to take off. And yes, I confess. That was me crying! :)

    1. Nessa, thank you for your kind words. I think it’s inevitable that we get teary eyed when we read words that remind us that this is something all mothers go through. I admit it. I cry all the time! :)

  5. so sweet, time does seem to go rapidly… not just with children growing up, but for me life in general. I love these black and white images. Loved this post about your son.. in the end a mother will always be a mother, and her son always her son; that strong bond is embedded within from the moment of inception. -xxoo Have a lovely week.

    1. Lady, I agree with you wholeheartedly. The bond is there from beginning to end. I’m happy you like the post and the images! Thank you! :)

    1. Astra, you’re one hundred percent right! Every chance he gets he says, “Mom, it seems like I’ve been here a lifetime!” And I say, “That’s cause you have.” :) At this age, they just want to reach the milestone of being independent and self sufficient. Good for us that they’ll realize son enough that they still have to come back home to do laundry, for the holidays, or simply to have a homecooked meal. :)

  6. Lovely post. As others have said in various ways, he will always need you. I am nearly 53, and I am still grateful that I can pick up the phone and call my mom. My stepkids are 23 and on their own, but they call often, and we see them as much as we can. They just need us in a different way now.

    1. Nadine, that’s how I feel about my connection to the Daughter who is now 25 years old. She still calls here twice a week and emails when she needs a recipe or to get my take on this or that. Yet like you mention, it’s different. With the Son it’s not the same, given he’s more dependent on me that the Daughter. Nevertheless, your words bring me comfort. Thank you! :)

  7. Oh how I feel you! My son is turning 22 next week. When I turned 40 few years ago, I was absolutely okay with it, I embraced it and I was happy with who I was. I knew my age was only a number, and I actually felt much younger. When my son turned 21 last year, I felt terrible! I knew I couldn’t be young anymore since I have a son who is legal already :(

    1. Ariana, I cannot believe you have a son that’s 22! You look splendid, my dear! Trust me, you have nothing to worry about. Your beauty is timeless! :)

    1. Claire, it’s not till they grow older that we realize just how much we cherish each and every minute. When they’re little, you think you have a lifetime with them but time passes by so quickly! It’s surely something we should be taught the moment we become mothers! :)

  8. Ah, you brought tears to my eyes. But what a lucky mommy you are to have such a son!!!! Count your blessings, Bella, and let him soar from the nest when he’s ready.

    1. Jann, I will infuse myself with bravery and courage when the time comes, and even if my heart breaks, I will encourage him to soar! Oh my goodness, the thought of it has me weeping all over again! :)

  9. Your son sounds like a wonderful young man! :)

    I don’t have children of my own, but I do have a half-brother who’s 20 years younger than me… I remember seeing him for the first time when he was two and a half years old, and now he’s fifteen and learning to be an accountant… Time surely flies.

    1. Ivana, he is a wonderful son and human being. Your brother is also proof of how quickly time flies. In just a few more years he too will be flying the coop! :)

  10. OH, this is such a heartfelt post…happiest of birthdays to your son! 20…time does sure fly and it is more apparent to me now. I know the link between you two will continue to strengthen as it’s so clear that there’s a lot of love. I love the photos of him..that is so very much a son’s idea! : ) Thank you SO much for your lovely visit!!

    1. Shirley, I’m tickled pink you like the photos and post! You’re welcome! I love, love dropping by your blog. Your illustrations make me happy! Thank you for your well wishes. I will relay them to the Son. And thank you for your support. I feel so comforted in reading all the comments in this post, yours included! :)

    1. Kirstin, I hear you and I second you. Time is passing by so quickly! It seems like yesterday we were celebrating summer vacation and now we’re just one month shy of the month of December. I think time seems to go by faster the older you get. Oh, oh. I think this might mean it’s going to speed up even more for me! hee hee! I’m delighted you like the photos, lady! :)

  11. What a beautifully sentimental post!
    I just posted about moving my 19 year old daughter into a larger university; the university of her dreams so she can start her 3rd year in college.
    It was an an emotional rollercoaster of great and proud moments and of “OMG it seems like yesterday that I gave birth to her”.
    But we get used to everything and now just a few months later I’m a bit more relax and adjust to the 12:00 a.m. goodnight phone calls and the looking forward for the holidays.
    Con Carinos,

    1. Ofelia, I just visited your blog and found your post to be just as lovely! Your daughters are so beautiful! I’m delighted you like the post. I felt the need to blog about this stage in my life because I realize that it’s just a matter of time before my baby leaves as well. I seriously don’t know what I will do. Maybe by then you’ll be a veteran at this and you’ll be able to give me tips on how to survive! hee hee! :)

  12. I can tell your son is adorable! I really love these b/w Wednesday photos you take! I know I should do it, but I’ve been scheduling my posts because my job is just killing me. Anywhoooo, I really LOVE this post. I hope all parents feel this way about their kids. :) I know my dad always thinks I’m still a little kid!

    1. Laura, I’m glad you’re scheduling your posts because that way you readers don’t miss out! I’m sorry the job doesn’t seem to be quite dreamy yet. I hope it will get better with time. Aw, you’re a daddy’s girl. I was a daddy’s girl too. Gosh, I miss my old man! Thank you for your kind words. I’m so happy you like the photos! And yes, the Son is such a cutie! But then I am biased. :)

  13. Oh Bella, I love this post so much. All of it makes my heart tight because I know it is coming my way three-fold. It sounds like your son has grown into such a fine young man, and any dude who uses Roxy as a shield and makes me laugh out loud is tops in my book. :) Thank you for linking these up, friend.

    1. Heidi, I am honored that you think these shots are worthy of your Black and White Wednesday, friend! I’m thrilled you like the post and yes, I’m afraid you’re right. The pain will come at you three-fold, but so will the joy, the pride and the feeling of satisfaction of having done things right, not once, but three times! You are indeed blessed, sister. And yes, the little man is a character and poor Roxy, his sidekick! hee hee! :)

  14. I love your wonderful description of your handsome son. I know how you feel…where did the time go? Twenty years…just a memory and now he is a man. Really touching, Bella. Absolutely wonderful.

    1. Annie, my heart dances a jig at your words! I am honored that you liked the post. You know, I ask myself the same thing, where has the time gone? It seemed like only yesterday we were shopping for diapers and now look. I don’t know about you but the only thought that keeps me going is grandkids. Someday. Not too soon cause I’m still not ready to be someone granny, but someday. :)

  15. What a beautiful boy! He’ll always be beautiful, no matter how old he gets, and he’ll always be your boy! Happy birthday!

    Oh. And Roxy is too cute in her Halloween costumes!

    1. Debra, thank you, sister. You’re kindness always serves to uplift my spirit. Roxy takes a bow at your lovely compliment! Thank you for the well wishes. They have been shared with the Son and you’ve made him smile! :)

  16. Bella, what a beautiful post! My only son is 20 also, and you’ve really taken me down Memory Lane here, with the Pokemon cards, various awards, bike riding, etc. When my son is home, I love to watch him (when he isn’t looking, of course!) because he, too, is off at university and I don’t get to feast my eyes on him near enough! Happy Birthday to your dear one!

    1. Debbie, thank you for your well wishes. They are much appreciated! Like you, I love looking at my child even if unlike your son, he is still living at home. I dread the thought that the time will come when he has to leave the nest and I will have to wait for holidays to look at his handsome face. I think this makes us mothers that are extremely proud of our offspring, would you agree? :)

  17. Oh, what a way to start the day. In tears . . . What a wonderful post/tribute! My youngest son/baby got married a year and a half ago, at the tender age of 21 and I still haven’t recovered, though he is very, very happy.
    My youngest daughter had her first baby three weeks ago and all of my kids and their spouses were here last night to celebrate. When I look around at my kids, I can’t help but have the memories beat me about the head. Wonderful memories. And now, the grandkids arrive with a ,”Hi, Gramma! Look what I can do!” and the cycle starts all over again.
    My Son-in-Law was holding his new baby daughter and talking about how fast she is growing and saying it wouldn’t be long and she would be starting school. I looked at him and said, “It won’t be long and you’ll be dancing at her wedding!” Then I looked at his wife, MY baby girl, and had a good cry. Memories can be such wonderful/agonizing things . . .

    1. Diane, that they can! I always think of memories as a bitter-sweet experience. On the one hand, you’re able to recall the beauty and joy of a moment, on the other, the realization that this is no longer your reality is made more tangible. However, I wouldn’t trade them for the world–even with the pain that is often involved. You sound like you have a lovely family; one that will keep you joyfully occupied as you witness the little ones’ milestones. I can think of a better way to stay busy, Diane! :)

  18. Hello – this is my first visit to your blog and, like most others here, this post brought tears to my eyes. I have a son who just turned 30 and became a father himself this past year. I also have a 17-year-old daughter. So, I know these feelings quite well. Being a parent has made me so sentimental! And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    1. Kathleen, hello and welcome! I think you’ve been lucky enough to have the best of both worlds given the age difference of your children. Your thirty year old provides you with a grandchild that allows you to relive your motherhood days whenever they visit, and your 17 year old has you practicing them on a daily basis. What a joy! I can see why you wouldn’t have it any other way!

  19. Lovely post. My girls are 30, 28 and 27. Or perhaps they are still 8, 6 and 5 as they sometimes are in my mind. I miss them being in the house and I miss the daily chaos/interactions. But, I believe they still need me. (maybe I’m delusional) And, I know I still need them. Things have changed, yes, and many days I do look back but most days I still look forward to enjoying good times with them as our lives continue to unfold.

    1. I am so grateful for the insight you have provided! Your words give me hope that while circumstances may change, our role as mother will remain static. I am quite comforted at the thought. Thank you! And no, you are not delusional. Most of the time when I look at my son, I see him wearing Garanimal jumpsuits with little Spiderman tennis shoes! :)

    1. Kelly, your words bring a huge smile to my face! Thank you! I trust the bond I have with the Son will last forever. (Even when he gets married and there’s another woman in the picture! hee hee!) :)

    1. Revital, hello and welcome! I will surely drop by your blog! I can relate to your feelings because when I moved, the Daughter stayed behind in the States. Now we only see each other during the summer and believe me, I live for that time of the year! :)

    1. Jean, I am honored that you like the post. Thank you! I’m also grateful for your recommendation of how to deal with the effects of the empty nest syndrome. I think I shall start making a list of things I have always wanted to do and never had time for. Perhaps that will help me prepare for what lays ahead. Perhaps. :)

  20. Wonderfully written piece, as always dearest Bella. And honestly, it gets easier, that is until you have a grandchild and have to start the whole shebang all all over again!

    1. Cathy, you sweetheart, I can always count on your kind words to uplift me even when I’m exhausted. Thank you! I had to smile at your mention that it gets easier until the grandchildren arrive. I was just thinking that the other day. The Daughter was mentioning that a co-worker was pregnant and said, “Thank goodness I won’t be having kids for a while!” Amen to that! Methinks I need a little time to transition! :)

    1. Leovi, you’ve hit the nail on the head! A mother’s love is always unconditional and pure! I agree one hundred percent! I’m happy you like the photos! :)

  21. You, you’re making me cry! I dread this with Sophie, although I know it happens every day. And soon enough, she’ll be moving out. Okay maybe not for a few years. But she’s not a baby anymore. I’m painfully aware of that. Just as you are with your son. Thanks for the reminder to cherish every moment.

    1. Leah, you’re welcome! I didn’t mean to make you cry, you lovely lady! However, we do have to prepare for the day when they leave. I’m trying to do that little by little. Though something tells me nothing prepares you for the actual day they walk out the door. I don’t even want to think about it! Thank goodness you still have much time with your princess! :)

  22. I have to be completely honest. It was a beautiful post and I love the photographs, but it did not make me cry as it did others. This could be because my children are 10 and 13 and at this point are still very much in the nest. I actually have fantasies about the day I can ever so gently shove them out of the nest and I can keep my nest cleaner and quieter. But everyone tells me that when the time comes, I will not want them to leave and I will weep with other empty nest mothers. I am not sure this will happen, but it might ;-)

    1. Cindy, hello and welcome! I love your take on this post! Your comment reminds me of how I used to think when my children were little. I dreamed of the day they would leave the nest since then it would mean I could fly first class, eat a box of Godiva chocolate without having to share, and I wouldn’t have to worry about them 24/7. Boy was I wrong! The Daughter has since moved out and the Son is in his third year of college. I cried myself to sleep the day the daughter left and now I find myself crying sporadically at the thought that the boy will soon be gone too. Something tells me you might experience similar symptoms when the times comes. And if you don’t, it doesn’t mean you love them any less. :)

  23. My heart goes out to you, Bella. You made me cry because I will never know the sensation of having a piece of my heart walking around outside my body. That is a blessing, I guess, and a curse. Kudos to you for being such a loving, caring mom.

    1. Coco, thank you for your lovely words. I can honestly tell you that motherhood has its ups and downs. There are days you’re glad to be a mom, and there are days you wish you’d stayed on birth control forever. I’ve embraced my role as a mother like I do all my other roles, with passion. This, unfortunately, makes me a cool mom some days, and others, a hateful one. I’m just glad that at the end of the day, I get to hear my child say, “Mom, I love you.” :)

    1. Brenda, are you sure? Are you really sure? I want to believe it. I really do. No matter what, I’m keeping the faith, sister. Thank you for your reassurance! :)

  24. It’ll be a while before I can understand these emotions but I know you echo what my dad always tells his 3 daughters that no matter how old we grow , we’ll always be his little baby girls .. Happy birthday to a rockstar mom’s son …he’s darn lucky to be your only boy and he knows that ..
    p.s- missed you in bloggy world .. hope alls well with you ..

    1. Priya, you’re back! And does this mean you have a new blog post on your blog? I’m heading over there to check it out! Thank you for your well wishes, friend. They are much appreciated, as are your kind words. Your daddy sounds like my daddy. I miss him so!

  25. Yes am back and not one but two posts ( yayyyyy !! ) and everytime I am back after a break , I realise how much I’ve missed this place and my friends and wonderful conversations .. and you’re welcome Bella :)

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