“Enjoy it now…”
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a bazillion times from the parents who’ve gone before me.
“They grow up so quickly…”
“You’ll never get this time back…”
“…before you know it, they won’t want to spend time with you…”
I’m sure that’s the case.
But here’s where I am right now:
I park in my driveway and don’t open the garage door after my 3-minute commute home from work, so that I can sit by myself for 2 minutes before re-entry where I’ll be
barraged welcomed in with questions like, “How was your day? What can I do for you?” “What’s for dinner? Can you help me print out something about horses, in Spanish? Can I go to So-and-So’s birthday party? We need a gift. It’s tomorrow. Did you know that I wore the wrong uniform today because you didn’t do the laundry?”
Sometimes I, a 39-year-old woman, hide in the bathroom a bit longer than I need because it’s quiet in there. And theoretically no one will bother me.
I also, on occasion, ignore when my children yell for me: “Mommy… Mommy… Mommy?” Instead of reacting quickly, I cock my head to the side and attempt to discern if the call of my name is just a vocalized pause or an actual emergency. My spidey-sense can usually tell an urgent alert – someone’s in pain or hurt – from an insignificant request like, “Can I have pancakes for a snack?”
If they’re asking for snack pancakes (which actually sound like a good idea), I ignore them. If there’s blood, I run.
Sometimes, in the midst of the tattling and the requests and the constant chatter, I need some time.
Give me a minute.
My brain can usually successfully muddle through 10+ requests at a time, but sometimes it just shuts down. Too many windows and tabs are open and I can’t successfully listen to two dueling high-pitched small child voices.
So forgive me if I’m not holding tight to these particular moments wishing they’d never end.
I know I’m going to miss these days when my ladies grow up and move out and get jobs to support themselves.
I know that I will miss the conversations in the car on the way home from school:
“Mom, I know three people who are having babies right now.”
“Lucy’s mom, the horse at school and Miss Marifer.”
[I smile. “The horse at school.”]
(These conversations are the golden eggs of parenting.)
I know I will miss the folding of the teeny-tiny underwear.
And the sweet giggles and laughs past bedtime.
And I know that I will simply not be whole and feel complete when they’re moved on and moved out.
I know this because I am a daughter and my Mom is gone for good.
And I don’t feel whole and complete now that she is no longer an everyday part of my life.
But I also know this: I drove my mom BANANAS. And she needed some alone time, too.
I never stopped talking.
I was hyper. I was constantly moving.
“Kylee, I hope you grow up and you have a kid who talks as much as you.”
Thank you, Mom. The circle of life has visited our home and I actually have two like that.
If you’re IN IT right now. If you’re
If you’re just.plain.exhausted…
If your kid keeps getting in trouble at school, or missing homework assignments or is just kind of annoying…
If you’re constantly in your car shuttling slightly un-grateful kids to and fro.
If you’re in the land of eye-rolling and silence…
If you’re a work-at-home or stay-at-home or commuting or traveling or single or married or tired mama…
…let me tell you this: It’s ok to not be thrilled all of the time with your role and responsibilities. It’s ok to be annoyed. And frustrated. And to genuinely NOT CARE what anyone has for dinner. (Snack pancakes?) And want to slam doors, too.
I know you love that child of yours with all of your heart and your soul.
I know that you would sleepwalk into her room to rub her
I know you’d drive to wherever that cell phone calls from just to pick him
I know that you don’t sleep, or
I know that you would walk across hot coals if that child needed a sweater.
I know that you would give your home and all of your earthly belongings
I know that you would do anything for that kid of yours.
This is motherhood.
It’s all the things: rewarding, frustrating, liberating, empowering, exhausting and hard.
Keep on fighting the good fight.
It’s ok if you’re not enjoying every moment. The parents who went before us didn’t either. (And if they say they did, they’re lying. They’ve got ONE thing on us: distance and perspective and with that, some added wisdom.)
So enjoy what you can, relish your hidden moments of sanity (in the car or in the bathroom) and know that when the time comes for the circle of life to bite your adult child in the you-know-where…
…you’ll be able to say to them, with a Santa-like twinkle in your eye, “…enjoy it while it lasts…”
“…they grow up so quickly…”
“…you’ll never get this time back.”