In 2010 I was 23 years old and a complete Taylor Swift junkie, like many pre-teens, teenagers, and 20-somethings of the world. I’d been a fan since the moment I heard Taylor’s first song, “Tim McGraw,” on my radio in 2006 at the age of 19. Back then, in her first days on country radio, every one of her songs resonated with me on some level, and I was a major fan. So in 2010 when her Speak Now album launched, I wasted no time in purchasing it on an old-fashioned CD; I listened to it over and over again on drives in my truck, and I blasted it out while painting the walls of the house my new husband and I had just purchased
At the time, there was a song on the album that I was indifferent to, and I underestimated the meaning it would have in my future life. Most of the time I skipped over the track entitled “Never Grow Up” and moved to the next song about revenge on a boyfriend-stealing girl that was “better known for the things she does on a mattress.” (Definitely one of my favorite lyrics ever!)
It was at the end of the next year, or perhaps at the beginning of 2012 that I would rediscover “Never Grow Up” and begin to bawl my eyes out every time I heard the song. I gave birth to my first child, a baby girl named Ellison, in October of 2011. We all know having a baby changes everything, from your sleep patterns to your bank account to your marriage, but I myself never imagined the changes I would feel in my heart and soul and the way in which my life would be impacted.
A New Meaning to Song Lyrics
Now I have two children, my daughter and also a son, who are both elementary-aged. And every time I hear Taylor’s song from my iTunes account (I’ve given up on playing the CD in some outdated player), I can’t help but tear up and get all crazy emotional over the song lyrics. The song progresses from the start of motherhood with baby’s “little hand wrapped around my finger” to the teenage years when the kid is “mortified your mom’s dropping you off” at the movies. The song speaks directly to the child, from the words of the mother, and it even includes a portion telling the child to make certain memories, “take pictures of your childhood room” and “memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home.” If you’re a mom, and you haven’t heard the song, definitely go download it!
It’s easy for me to say that I want my children to “never grow up” and “stay this little.” But to be honest, right now I’m sort of stuck in the place of motherhood where I can’t wait for them to grow up and be out of my house and out of my hair! Life is stressful with two young children running around full of energy and always wanting my undivided attention.
I have incredible plans for when they leave my home as young adults. These plans include turning their bathroom into my own personal oasis, complete with a clawfoot tub and lavender fragranced candles burning while I lay relaxing in a bubble bath. And I hope for my husband and me to be able to travel without worrying about kids’ school days and activity schedules, and without facing the increased cost of traveling with kids, of course! Motherhood is hard, and we moms can’t help but look forward to the days when our kids are grown and our time is again ours to decide on how we will spend it.
But we also can’t help but feel a little guilty for looking forward to this day…
If I wrote a letter to my kiddos right now, I would definitely include the memories that I want them to make and the moments that I want them to cherish while they are young. I want them to remember collecting sharks’ teeth on the sandbar in the Edisto River on Saturdays with their cousins. Remember tie-dying beach towels during summer break. Remember jumping on the trampoline under the water sprinkler Daddy designed especially for the trampoline. Remember four-wheeling in December in Tennessee and the sights of the higher mountains covered in snow and ice. Remember me tucking them in each night before they settled into sleep.
I’m completely torn, like many of us moms today.
How I long for my kids to grow up, leave the nest, and become the successful and independent adults that I am trying so hard to raise them to be. But at the same time, it’s all I can do to keep my welling tears from streaming down my face as I think about how I also want my babies to “never grow up,” just as Taylor wishes for the child in her song.
I suppose it’s just the part of life that we must endure as mothers. To want completely different things for our children, and for ourselves, at the same time. And to also know there will indeed come a day when our babies are grown and will leave home, and our hearts will grieve, but also rejoice. Because we will have succeeded at motherhood and raised wonderful human beings that can now go out into the world and continue to make us proud mothers even as adults, just as they have from the very day they were born. And the same sense of accomplishment that I feel today about the humans I am raising will be present in my heart in the future as I soak in a deep bubble bath in my clawfoot tub.