Mom's Emotional Post About 'Crossing the Aisle' at Target Reminds Us How Fast Toddlers Grow

A mom of three from Colorado shared the poignant moment she realized her son is "officially outgrowing the remnants of toddlerhood."

clothing department in Target
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The infant days can feel like a blur. The toddler days are downright exhausting. But then comes a moment when you look back and realize your baby is well on their way to growing up, and there's no going back. It can be a truly emotional experience, which a mom of three named Casey Huff, who writes for Bouncing Forward With Casey Huff, recently summed up beautifully in a viral post on Facebook.

It all began when Huff "crossed the aisle" at Target. "You know, the one that separates the toddler sizes from the big kid sizes," she wrote. "If you're shrugging your shoulders and saying 'so what?' ... it's probably because you haven't done it yet."

She recalled seeing her 4-year-old son standing in the kitchen. "I noticed how short his 5T pajamas were getting on his tall frame," Huff wrote. "It was obvious he needed the next size up, so I made a mental note to grab some for him the next time I went to Target. Not a big deal. Except it WAS a big deal to this mama's heart."

The Colorado mom continued, "I was standing right smack dab in the middle of the toddler section, between the Cat & Jack and the Carter's, when it hit me that there was no such thing as 6T. Because once a kid is big enough to be in 6T, he's actually ready to move on up to boy sizes. Not baby. Not toddler. But boy. Like, KID boy. Across the aisle. I realized in that moment I've been living in denial."

The blogger reflected that she was seeing her boy growing up before her eyes. "I've noticed the edges of his face becoming less round and more mature," she wrote. "I've heard the witty things he says. I've noticed the way he pours his own cereal and makes his own bed. I've listened as he tells me more and more often, 'No thanks, Mom. I don't need help this time.'"

And although she's "had front-row seat to his metamorphosis," she feels she hasn't accepted it fully. "Because in my mind, he's still a baby," Huff wrote. "That sweet, smiley, precious little baby—the first one we ever brought home from the hospital. My heart hasn't been ready to admit that now he's a boy who will be starting school in the blink of an eye. A boy who is officially outgrowing the remnants of toddlerhood. A boy whose height apparently requires his mama to make her first trips across the aisle."

She continued, "As I stepped foot into the big boy section, my heart physically ached at the reminder of passing time. I felt a spark of hope when I saw how big all of the clothes hanging on the racks were. They were HUGE—surely he wasn't really big enough to wear those yet. Surely it wasn't time. I grabbed a pair of Spiderman pajamas and made my way to the checkout, hopeful we'd have to store them in the closet for a while until he grew into them."

On her drive home, she "thought about newborn giggles and determined first steps and the way it sounded the first time he called me Mama." She shared, "Then I thought with pride about all of the things he's doing now. Playing basketball, learning to read, soaking up the world around him. And last, I thought about all the things his future has in store. And I smiled through teary eyes."

Once the proud mom got home, she was greeted by her son whose "eyes lit up when I handed him the bag, and even though it was only 4:30 he ran off to his room to change. I watched him go and swallowed the lump in my throat." Huff concluded, "He's growing up, this beautiful first blessing of mine—but we're both gonna be okay. And those boy-sized Spiderman PJs? They fit perfectly."

Huff's poignant experience is one that all too many parents can relate to—which is why her post currently boasts over 8,000 comments, 65,000 shares, and 20,000 reactions.

In the comments, parents shared similar experiences, as well as hopes and fears. One admitted, "This is a bit like a horror movie for me. My baby is 8 months (somehow my mind still thinks she is 6 months). I know I still have a nice long road ahead of me. It's just that I can't believe how time is flying by. Not too long ago I was wishing for longer sleep hours and now, reading things like this I realize time will only keep going faster and faster. I didn't understand the look in my mom's eye whenever she had teary eyes as we, her babies, started accomplishing things. Now I wish for time to go slowly and have the ability to absorb every moment."

Another wrote, "Time moves so fast and before you know it instead of crossing those aisles, you will be watching your children walk down them. Love and live each day to the fullest, and don't sweat the small stuff ever."

One mom shared a different perspective, which was equally applauded: "My son just turned 5. Yeah. He's growing. And growing up and I personally love it. He is so much more fun and witty and silly, and we can actually talk and laugh and have a conversation. Did I love the toddler stage? Sure, but each stage has its perks. And I for one plan to enjoy each one to the fullest."

Ultimately, every parent's relationship with themselves and their child is unique, so their journey to recognizing and embracing their child's growth will be as well. "Crossing the aisle" looks different for everyone. But if you're struggling at all to make peace with the passage of time, it's heartening to see that, judging from the copious comments on Huff's post, you're not alone.

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