Oh Yusuf. My sweet Yusuf. My eldest, baby, big boy, Yusuf.
How I wish I could slow time down with you. Of all three of my children, you seem to grow the
fastest. If you only knew how much I try to be the best I can, for you. If you only knew how many times I go to bed at night full of guilt wishing I had done better, going over the things I did wrong.
Being the eldest isn't easy. Mothering the eldest isn't easy either. By the time your brother and sister turn three or four or five, its not as tricky because Ive already mothered someone that age before and have an idea of what to expect.
But for you and I, every age is new. Every stage is new. Every challenge is new. It's almost like practicing a foreign dance routine, every step makes you feel clumsy, and you practice and you practice and you finally get it! But theres no stage performance for motherhood, once I finally feel confident in my footing, you go ahead and reach another age.
You have no idea how many times Ive kicked myself after realizing Ive pushed you to grow up faster than you should, but once you do I feel like Ive missed out. I didn't slow down enough. I didn't savour each moment enough because I was too worried that you needed to be reaching a certain (mostly behavioural) milestone. It actually just hit me, (and hit me hard) the other week, when I realized how long I've been telling you that you're almost nine.
For the last six months, you've been 'almost nine.' According to the calendar, you still have about sixteen weeks until you're officially nine. But, being the typical mother-to-the-eldest, I've been saying your 'almost nine' for too long. Unfortunately Ive made you 'almost nine' for longer than you've actually been eight. It was only a few months after you turned eight, that I turned you into 'almost nine.'
You're not almost nine. You're eight. You've been eight for almost nine months, and still have over three months of being eight. And when you turn nine, I promise to keep you nine, not almost ten.
For you, being eight wasn't easy. And maybe thats why I made you 'almost nine,' to handle the pressures and changes and difficulties better. Maybe I subconsciously thought that if I made you older than you were, that it wouldn't be so hard.
Maybe moving countries, being homesick, missing family, having your best friend move away, seeing people constantly coming and going would have been easier if you nine instead of eight. Maybe being nine would have made you stronger so my heart wouldn't have to feel the tightness of seeing you hurt. Maybe going though this when you were eight was too hard, but being nine would have made it okay.
But the truth is that you were eight. And it was hard. And even if you were nine it still would have still been hard.
And its okay for things to be hard. Because life is hard. We cant escape the tests in life, whether were the age were currently at, or try to grow up faster than we should.
Here's to making a promise that Ill try my best not to force you to grow up any faster than you need to. And that well stay strong together through all the tests and trials of life. And if you need to cry and be sad and be angry and vent and talk about things that are hard... than thats okay, and I promise to be here for you....no matter what age you are.
All my love and duas,
Always and forever,