Looking back at old pictures yesterday I came to a startling realization.
These days are short. The days of kids and noise and mess. The days of cribs and bottles. The days of high school football games and middle school dances.
The days my kids are MY KIDS and live with ME.
Everyone always said it, “Enjoy these days. They’ll be gone before you know it.” I clearly remember thinking those saying that particular phrase to me were a.) suffering from memory loss b.)remember only parts of having a screaming toddler running away with your shopping cart in Target containing his newborn sister c.) didn’t realize the cost of gas and the loss of my time in running cleats to a kid who forgot them … at an away game or d.) were just trying to make me feel better and were actually lying through their teeth.
When my spawn were babes I felt like I was always waiting for the next stage. “Won’t it be so wonderful when they can move a bit to get their own toy if dropped?” “Won’t it be wonderful when they’re in a twin bed and not a crib?” “I can’t wait until they can tie their own shoes.” I did enjoy the cuddles but longed for sleep. I felt like an addict in withdrawal – I NEEDED SLEEP. But their little heads….oh did they smell good.
Then the toddler years arrived. “Crap! Now they can get into the dishwasher!!” “Tall enough to reach into the toilet and then…get stuck. Time for another bath!” “Man I miss them not caring which shoes I put on their feet!” “When did they start caring about which shorts I put on them.” “Won’t it be wonderful when they can use the bathroom themselves?” I prayed for patience …. and for cloning to be approved and available to the public.
Preschool years hit with a storm. “I can’t wait for those few hours of peace with only 2 or 3 other children.” “Wow, I have a preschooler – won’t full day school be easier with less running?” “I can’t let him go in the men’s restroom alone – when did he start caring about being in a women’s bathroom with me?” I met other moms and realized we were all going through the same thing and had the same thoughts about people lying to us about it being all awesome!
School arrived. “Oh wow, they’re riding the bus. Oh wow, the big yellow bus just ate my kid!”
They gained independence. And opinions. All the things I longed for them to have when they were in the needy stage and I felt needed-out.
And……I realized I missed that. I missed hanging out at the park AGAIN. I missed getting them popcorn at Target so I could make it through my shopping list. I missed getting paged at the YMCA mid run because someone needed a diaper change. I missed being needed.
I’m lucky. I still have some time. I have one starting high school. *GASP* I have one starting middle school. *GASP* And the Littles will be in grades 4 and 1. I have time to remember to enjoy them. While I’m so happy they’re growing into strong, independent individuals, I’m trying to hold onto those last little straws of them needing me. And trying to be there for them. Because one day all too soon, they won’t need me like they do now.
And I’ll miss it.
But I’ll know I did what I could while I had their ear.
EJ out – to make some breakfast on this first day of summer.
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