I call it The Neverland Syndrome. It’s a condition I suffer from on every child’s birthday, every big milestone, and at every goodbye. I don’t want things to change. I don’t want my children to grow up. Why can’t we just stay the same forever and always?
I remember when my Sweet Tween just turned 12 years old. She was going to 7th grade. For her birthday she wanted a denim jacket, a camera, her ears pierced, and other teen-type stuff. When all her presents were opened my 9 year old Little Son exclaimed, “Hey, she didn’t get any toys!” He was bewildered. Sweet Tween quickly replied with a happy giggle, “These are my toys now.”
And all I could think was, It’s her last night in the nursery . . . time to grow up. The Neverland Syndrome kicked in–big time.
I wanted to pause time and hold her in my arms just like I did on the first moment of her life at the hospital 12 years ago. She was chubby-cheeked and spunky for such a small person. I felt like I had already known her forever.
And then at the same time, I look at my beautiful 12 year old and see how amazing she is now. Sweet Tween radiates with happiness. She replaces fear with faith. She has an eagerness for living life to the fullest. She’s steady, smart, and her heart is oh so very kind. These are things that can only come with TIME. She became this wonderful young girl because TIME has PASSED and things CHANGED. She changed. And so did I.
I think of the Lost Boys who lived in Neverland. They loved the adventure and the chance to always be a little boy. But something was missing in their life and they sensed it. As did Peter Pan. For them, it was a mother and a family, and possibly the chance to become someone amazing and GROW UP.
And I realized that as much as I want to fly away to Neverland and let my children stay small and innocent, and to have things never change, I wouldn’t want them to miss out on what they can BECOME. I want to find out who they are. As they grow and develop their personalities, quirks, and gifts I want to be there for that. I want to help them along the way and watch from the sidelines. And as I do so, I grow up as well and find out what I can BECOME.
In the meantime, when The Neverland Syndrome settles in and I am struggling with time slipping away, I find peace in the knowledge that there is more than just this life. Whatever TIME is stolen away by earthly means here, will be restored to us again someday because families are forever.
And my hope in that eternal family is . . . kinda like flying away to Neverland afterall.