The dog gave them away late last night. I heard the distant sound of giggling outside my door and I wondered what in the world they could possibly be up to. They were excited, silly and running around happily at the news of school being canceled because of the impending weather. Just like that, in that moment, I was taken back.
It seems like just yesterday that I was a robot moving through the hours of my day. My life had become diaper changes, feedings, sleepless nights. Bath time, play time, Barney, Sesame Street, Teletubbies, rewind, repeat. My house became a place of tantrums, and learning to write ABCs and colored bath fizzies to make bath time last just a couple minutes longer. My house was becoming smaller with Johnny jumpers, strollers, high chairs, books, toys, barbies, trains, my little ponies, webkins. The more it filled up, the smaller I felt. It was taking over. The stuff. Those two little crazies that I brought into this world were completely starting to steal the show. It was their house now. Their stuff. Their schedule. I was Kayleigh’s mom or Chases mom. That is who I had become. Most people didn’t even know my real name. The days were long. I thought some weeks would never end. Life seemed so hard back then and I was always exhausted just wanting a few quiet minutes to myself. The mere thought at how fast the time flew by brings tears to my eyes. I look at them now. My daughter is 16. Can you believe she can drive? And Chase turns 13 this month. How I miss their little toddler faces, their dirty hands and dirty diapers. What I wouldn’t give to go back for a day, a week, a single minute. I would look at them, I mean really look into their eyes and study their faces. I would listen to their little voices singing their favorite songs and I would watch them play. I would stand next to their beds for hours and watch them sleep. If only I could go back.
What could I possible say to the moms out there with little kids? One day, in the middle of exhaustion when you stop looking, your kids grow up. How can it be you think to yourself? Where does the time go and why does the period between toddler and teen go so darn fast? It’s hard to explain and I’m guessing there is not a mom in the world who doesn’t feel this same way. When they are small, you get so caught up that you forget they won’t always be this small. My advice, love them, hug them, play with them and take a million pictures. You will forget what they look like until you pull that picture out. Maybe it’s because you cannot bear to remember. You miss that little face at every age and every year you get all tangled up, all caught up in different stuff and when you’re not looking….you know the rest. Look at them, enjoy them, embrace every single moment and be careful what you wish for. These moments, this time, it will pass. Don’t be in a hurry. Cherish the time because it is all you ever have. And the memories, write them down. Put them in a journal. Start a blog. I only wish I had done that sooner. The best gift you can ever give is your time. Spend it wisely. Spend it on them. You will have more than enough time to yourself in the blink of an eye and then, you too will wish for a time that feels like a blur, when you were completely overwhelmed, exhausted and hoping bedtime would come just a little bit sooner. Then, like me, you will lie in bed and listen to them giggle a floor away and you will smile to yourself as you fall asleep and visit a time long ago when they were still little.