In the hustle and bustle of parenting young kids, sometimes I’m quick to forget that these moments are but a brief season in the entirety of my life. If I’m being candid, sometimes I wonder if I take their purity and dependence on me for granted. I’ve become so acclimated to the somewhat mundane tasks of everyday motherhood. Making the bottles, refilling the sippy cups, prepping their meals, cleaning the messes, breaking up the sibling rivalry, etc., that I sometimes forget these moments are destined to be fleeting.
When you think about it, the years we spend raising our small children are the briefest lapses of time in the span of our lives. Yet, if you stumble across the wiser-knowing mother with grown children of her own, she still recalls those chaotic moments as the best years that flew all too quickly…. messy house and all. When I see her in passing, she nostalgically smiles at my children in a way that suggests she longs for those days which have passed her by. And I’m reminded, yet again, time pauses for no one.
I wonder, did she, too, get caught in the vicious rigamarole of parenting? The to-do list that never gets finished, the running around from point A to point B or the days of feeling so worn out that even the slightest whine pushed her completely over the edge?
My fear is that I’ve become immune to these little moments. Unappreciative of of my kids’ child-like spirit. I don’t want to finally look up after I’ve been telling my kids to “wait a minute” and “hurry up” only to realize they’ve grown in the moments I’ve been “too busy.” Once a moment is gone, there is no way to get them back. And that’s what the beauty of motherhood is compiled of — moments.
The clock keeps ticking. The calendar days pass me by. My carpet had vacuum lines for a minute today, but there will come a time when they stay perfectly symmetrical for days at a time. These sticky finger, wet-kiss, crumbs in the carpet days are limited. One day, my kids won’t be hanging from my calves or sneaking in my room in the middle of the night just to feel my warmth.
What breaks me? There is nothing that can prepare me for each set of my children’s lasts. Once they are here, I won’t recognize that they have passed until they are all but a distant memory.
If I could swoop together and bottle up all of their innocence, memories of these simple days like blowing bubbles while sun rays kissed their golden wispy hair, I would give every worldly possession to do it.
To be honest, sometimes I stare at them as a means to try and freeze them in time. Taking in their every perfect feature like a candid photo, and tucking it safely where even the burden of time can’t steal their loveliness away.
What a bittersweet act parenting is. To raise, nurture, cherish and love a child all so they will, one day, be able to leave the home they’ve always known. I know this, this is the evolution of life and how it is meant to be.
Yet, I’m telling my heart to be still, because I’m not ready.
I’m not ready for the messes to be gone.
I’m not ready for someone else to be their best friend more than me, for I was their very first.
I’m not ready to not snuggle them tightly every single day and night.
I’m not ready for them to say, “Let me do it,” when I’ve done it for them so many times.
I’m not ready for silly, small giggles and make-believe to be put to an end.
I’m not ready for the dismay of witnessing their first broken heart.
I’m not ready for the stillness of an empty home.
They are and will forever be my babies. So tell me, how does a mother prepare herself for the day which they are already predestined to leave?
Right now, there is never a dull moment, and I don’t say that lightly. Our lives are made up of loudness, stickers on the walls and exploding bean bag bead messes sprawled throughout every inch of their previously spotless rooms. As finger and handprints on my wall begin to grow higher and higher, I’m constantly reminded of the future day when their mark won’t be left, and I will have cleaned my last set of prints.
I’m not ready, but at the same time, when could I ever be? Even after all of the messes made, constant sass-mouthing, bank accounts depleted and many, many years of little to no sleep, I know I will always want my babies home.
I hope after they’ve made families of their own, marked the world in their own way, that they would still walk through my front door and know that anywhere Mom is, that is a place they can call home. They have a soft place to land for as long as I’m here.