Mom, You Can Slow Down But My Childhood Won’t

December 30, 2017

Mom, you can slow down, but my childhood won’t. I don’t need everything to be impeccable. Every meal doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to sacrifice it all to satisfy my every whim.

I just want to jump in puddles and get mud on my clothes. That’s what growing up is all about.

You don’t have to be the first one at the school gates. No, mom. I need you to be fulfilled, content and happy. Not suffocated. I need you to have time to yourself. Most of all, I need you to tell me you love me, bend down and smile at me.

Tell me every day that you love me. It will take less than five seconds, but I will remember it for a lifetime, I can assure you. These memories will pick me up when I feel sad, when my spirits are low and on the darkest days. 

I also want you to help me understand that I am not defined by my mistakes or my achievements. I am only human, and for every one of my accomplishments there have been failures along the way.

black and white photo of mother and child

I need you to slow down, mom

I don’t want my shirt to be perfectly ironed, mom. I want you to crease my clothes with your hugs. Make me feel that what is truly important is that we love one another, not how nice our home is.

Don’t look at me playing and worry that I’m going to stain my clothes. I want tickles and kisses. I want to share secrets and moments, hideaways, stories and games that are ours alone.

I want to understand that what matters is not the toys I have, but how I learn from them and how we play together. I have to feel that you are watching and understanding, and that I am at liberty to feel, speak and act. 

I need to know that my emotions make sense. I need to look to you for approval, even when I mess up. And don’t forget, mom: when I do something wrong is when I need you most of all.

mom and her daughter in the bathtub

Don’t push me away, and don’t tell me I’m bad. Remember that I will hear your words over and over, like an echo. Be patient and take your time to explain that there are things that can harm me or make others sad.

Really, mom. Over time I will understand, but for now, I need you to sit down and explain things to me. Let’s enjoy my childhood and cuddle every day. This is what will keep me going when you are no longer there to hold my hand. 

Be flexible and let me experiment

It doesn’t matter if we were supposed to eat vegetables today. Maybe I want to make you a cake; beat the eggs with the flour and enjoy the views from the rooftop. That way, I share in your world and we make it our own, just like when you get down on the floor to play with me. I love those moments!

Mom, relax a little and think. I know that you have a lot to do, but you have to realize that you can slow down, but my childhood can’t. Spend time with me, and don’t try to control everything.

The most wonderful things in life happen unplanned. Let your guard down. Let us eat dinner at 6:30 instead of 6:00 from time to time. You’ll be teaching me about what is most important in life, and that sometimes, the dirty dishes can wait.

slow down to enjoy your baby's childhood

We can snuggle in bed, laugh out loud, talk about what’s on our minds and spend moments together that we will never forget. Really, it’s your love that will help me to grow up. It’s your love that will make my childhood into a wonderful stage.

But if you don’t let me step in mud or play with bugs, if I don’t get the chance to tell you my secrets or to stop and pick you a flower, my childhood will lose some of its magic and meaning.

Slow down, mom: we don’t need to rush. I know that you’re busy, but together we can keep it simple and fun. Let me cry, let me laugh, let me imagine and explore the world.

Don’t be afraid, and don’t feel burdened. Remember that, with a single hug, you light up my world. For me there is nothing better than feeling that you’re near me, because with every day, you help me water the roots that make me part of the world.

Don’t forget: the only appointment you can’t postpone is my childhood. This is a one way ticket, with no way back.