Jane Roper

Writer. Blogger. Hater of Olives.

Pretty soon they won’t

Clio still tucks him back in every morning. Force of habit.

Every since my girls were babies, these four words have periodically — well, often, actually — popped into my head, paired with the things the girls do or love or need at any given time. Things that are so routine I hardly notice them, until I do. Because I realize that even as they’re here, they’re on the way out.

Pretty soon they won’t fit in their exersaucers or bouncy swing any more. 

Pretty soon they won’t play with the toy strollers / the pretend food / the Play Doh

Pretty soon, they’ll be too big for us to pick up and carry.

Pretty soon they won’t dance at their dad’s shows.

Lately, though, the “soon they won’ts” feel even more poignant because I know that in a year or two we’re headed for the biggest change of all, when the girls go from children to adolescents. (Well, I guess really the biggest change of all is when they leave home, but let’s not even go there. Please! Oy.) Next year is the last year of elementary school. And though the girls have always skewed young in some ways, they’re getting tweenier by the day.

So when I look at Legos on the windowsill or forts built in the back yard or stuffed animals on the bed or chalk drawings in the driveway I want to leap onto them and hug them, these child-like things. (Which would be painful in three out of four instances.)

I suppose it’s good to have the “soon they won’ts,” to the extent that they make me stop and really appreciate and treasure things as they are. And, of course, there have always been things that I look forward to, too, to balance out the ones that make me wistful to think of losing.

Pretty soon they won’t wake up every four hours to nurse.

Pretty soon we can get rid of these damned safety gates.

Pretty soon they won’t need these annoying car seats.

Pretty soon they’ll be in school for full days

Pretty soon we’ll be able to watch movies with them that we actually want to watch too.

Pretty soon we’ll be able to have really fun, interesting conversations with them

Pretty soon we can start leaving them home for an hour here and there without a babysitter.

There are still a lot of pretty great “Pretty soons,” ahead, including less whining and fighting (I hope?), more trips and outings to cool places they weren’t ready for when they were younger, more serious and substantive conversations. Pretty soon they’re going to turn into teenagers and young women and it’s going to be a fascinating (if painful) transformation.

But the older they — and I — get, the more fiercely I want to cling to the things I know won’t be around for much longer. And the more resistent I feel toward what’s ahead. I suppose it has as much to do with my own aging as it does with theirs.

It’s all going so damned fast.




  1. Aww, I love this. Your twins are just a few years older than mine, so I always love hearing your perspective. It does go so quickly- I told the boys we needed to thin down the toys, and give some to a younger cousin and some to kids who needed them and I braced myself for an argument. I about burst into tears when they pulled out a bunch of adorable toys it seemed liked they’d loved five minutes ago, and said they were too babyish. Bittersweet for sure.

  2. Jane, your thoughts are just the same as those we had when you and Kev were growing up…! Wow, suddenly that “someday” arrives and whamo! You and Kev are out of the house! Yes! Treasure those sweet days! …Love never leaves!

  3. Lynn Slobodin

    June 20, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    I hate to tell you, but in my experience the pace only speeds up from here.

    • Veronica Morra

      June 21, 2017 at 10:06 am

      That is so true! My baby, my only one, used to fit between my knee and my groin, on one of my legs.. pretty soon he will be walking! Now, a day later, he is 45 and towers over me with two teenagers of his own… whose lap days and even summer visits with grandma are a thing of the past. Enjoy every second, while you can. Take the God, the bad and the ugly. How often I wish they were around, even if misbehaving… Peace and love to the four of you!

  4. My first baby is going to learn to drive this summer. It’s ridiculous how fast it goes.

  5. Veronica Morra

    June 21, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Darn auto-correct! Good, not God!

  6. Elaine Campbell

    June 21, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    You are blessed in recognizing these moments, and in cherishing them.
    When I was a young mother I was torn between wanting my my daughter to stay young enough that I could always watch over her, but then…I wanted her to grow up and be independent and on her own, should something happen to me.

  7. I love reading about the Moock girls growing up happy and healthy! If it’s any consolation, the transition from child –> “grown up” gives you the chance to have a real friendship with your daughters as their own people, something I really love having with my mom now as an adult. And don’t worry, I am 29 and still sleep with my stuffed dog…not everything will change!! 🙂

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