It's really hard to put a finger as to when I realized my 2 boys were growing up. Was it the time when we said goodbye to diapers for good? Or was it the time when they stopped peppering us with long and slippery goodnight kisses, preferring to draw the line with a peck? Or was it the time when they were able to shower on their own?
I can't really recall.
It's like they have grown up overnight. Almost too sudden.
Suddenly, they are learning more things than ever before. Things that way ahead of my time when I was at their age then. Their friends matter much more to them, and they come home from school feeling happy.
So why do I still feel the way I feel?
Just the other day, I decided to fetch Ash back from school. He usually takes the school bus home but I wanted to give him a surprise that day. The first thing he he said when he saw me was, 'Papa, now I can't talk to my friends in the bus on my way home.'
My boy is growing up?
I drop Ash off at school every morning, hear him say a cheery 'Bye-bye Papa!' before seeing him slam the car door and rushing off to be with friends barely looking back to see if I am still there.
My boy is growing up.
The smiles I used to be able to invoke with ease have turned into rolling eyes and shrugs. The roles of holding hands have been reversed - They used to want to hold my hand, now I want to hold their hands. The readiness of wanting to be hugged and kissed have long since waned.
My boy is growing up!
Sometimes, I see a glimmer of a little boy with a diaper around his lower half in Ash's eyes. It takes me back to the first time I saw him. So tiny and yellow. The wifey cried buckets when she had to leave him alone in the hospital for photo-therapy then. I remember the first time I carried him and tried to soothe him. His eyes still look the same. I remember the days when I stood outside his Nursery class, straining my neck and trying to peek stealthily through the window to make sure everything was okay. He wailed when he couldn't find me, and would only calm down when he was sure I was sitting at the back of the class.
As I browse through the gigabytes of the monkies' past photos, it makes me wonder how all these happened so fast. What felt like an eternity back then sure feel otherwise now. All because my boy has and is still growing up.
Luckily, I still have Ale. She still has all the innocence of a toddler, and without a worry in the world. She sticks to us like glue because to her, we mean the world to her. For now. So yes, I am going to enjoy this for as long as it will last.
Because like it or not, my monkies are growing up!