It wasn’t that long ago. The tired, no-shower, baby-talk, endless diapers, “is that poop?” phase. Don’t get me wrong, most days even now, I am so tired I can’t remember if I took a shower or not [sorry husband]. But those bouncy chair days, those Baby Einstein days, those carry-baby-until-your-arms-resemble-a-body-builder days…those days are starting to be a bend in the road behind me that will soon be unseen.
I have a four year old girl and a two year old boy. I am in the thick of it. Probably the hardest season I’ve been through in my whole life. I even said to my husband the other day that I would trade the now for sleepless newborn nights in a heart beat. I know, I’m crazy. No sleep still, y’all.
Jael, my daughter, started school this week. As a matter of fact, she is in school right now as I type this. And I am sitting here, knot in my throat, trying to push the grief and sadness aside. I mean, I was praising the Lord that she could go to school, and I could have some time at home with only one child and maybe 50% of my sanity would return. [Still waiting…] But when I dropped her off on her first day, the tears started to fall. And they weren’t from her.
Growing Up Is Hard
I remember several moments in my adult life that I mourned the passing of my live-at-home, carefree days of youth. Those times at home, protected, safe, naive, unaware of the pain and violence of the world…those times felt like a safe haven when I felt threatened with adulthood. With reality. I grieved the passing of those years. Didn’t appreciate the gift of the no-bills life. Or my parents for doing all the things for me.
So as my children get older and those little baby rolls started to fade to muscles and steady feet, I started to feel that feeling again. I am losing something, and I can’t stop it. As my kids grow, I gain sweet kids who can talk and walk and come up to me and randomly say, “I wuv you, mama.” But I was also losing the carefree baby days…my kids crashed their way into “kid-hood” with their wobbly first steps of toddler-hood. The discovery of a new world, and I was a part of it. A glorious season of seeing my babies uncover the beautiful mysteries of this world.
Just like my growth from naive teenager into the life of an adult, my kids are leaving those days of safety at home and venturing like little turtles into a big, new world. And that scares me. There are days that I want these years to be over. You know those days…the ones where you can’t cut the crust off the right way and the apple slices look funny and everyone wants the same toy and no one wants to nap. Those are the days I pray silently, “Jesus, your second coming would be nice right about now.”
But then there are moments like this. Moments that I wish I could freeze time. Freeze those little cheeks and baby eye lashes and stompy legs and pudgy toddler belly and words said funny and hugs and kisses and all.the.things. The baby teeth and soft hair and sweet stories and lessons finally learned and heartfelt apologies and discovery. All of it. I wish I could wrap it all up gently and fold them into a box to be taken out and felt and seen again.
But in my heart, my grief whispers, “These days are short. Those soft baby cheeks are but a moment.” And my tears fall. And my heart breaks. And I hold my babies tight and remember the scene in The Family Man where Nicolas Cage is trying not to fall asleep because he knows when he wakes up, his life as he knows it will be gone.
Its just my mama heart today. I’m grieving and celebrating, mourning and dancing. I’m grasping at these little years that are slipping by while also waving my flag and banner for the days to come. One foot on each side. Not ready to move an inch.