Monday, June 16, 2014

"The days are long, and yet the years are short"

It's a phrase that many parents are familiar with, and if you're not, I'm sure after reading this you're sitting there going, "Oh boy, is that right!"

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Last weekend, we had a visit from a friend who was in town for a wedding and needed a place to stay. We opened up our guest room for her, and she had some down time and we were able to catch up for a bit during her visit as well.  Sunday morning, we were hanging out in the playroom; the morning was pretty much identical to nearly any other weekend morning.  The kids were both awake by 6:30, had already watched a bit of TV and grew tired of that, so they were just playing on the floor, probably dragging out a bunch of toys.  Our friend joined us and as she told us details about the wedding the night before, the kids of course did their kid things: they flew all around the playroom, dumping blocks, zooming cars, becoming superheros...all the while asking my friend to "watch me!" or "listen to this!" or "did you know I can..."

About an hour or so went by and after watching me break up a fight between the two (I don't even remember what it was about now, I'm sure something trivial like who got to use the Batman figure and who had to be the bad guy), I sat back down, my friend said "wow...time goes by really slowly, huh?  It feels like it should be much later than it is."  This was probably around 9am.  She wasn't saying it in an insulting way, and I didn't take offense to it at all, because frankly, it summed up a lot of what I think on some days.  I reiterated the quote above to her, and tried to explain how yes, some days feel like they are literally crawling by.

But then....

....then you blink and you see that somewhere along the line your tiny baby turned into a toddler.  Your first baby is in elementary school.  You no longer have any cribs being used in your house. You have an attic full of baby clothes and carseats and highchairs and tiny stray socks that you randomly find mixed in with other stuff that are only small enough to fit a newborn.  You stumble across a teeny, tiny hat while cleaning out a closet and you have to close your eyes to imagine when one of the boys was small enough to wear that.  And then of course, when you think of that, you immediately think of the newborn baby smell.

Then you open your eyes, and you are looking at a 6 year old and a 3 year old.  And they're not babies anymore, not even close. They're wound up, and running in circles, and they're certainly not sleeping peacefully in a baby bouncy seat anymore. They may be yelling at each other, or yelling your name that they need something.  You may have to break up a fight.  And you may even think to yourself, "is this day ever going to end??  It feels so long!"

But they're yours.  They're yours, and when they're not wound up or fighting or asking for things, they do things like run across the room and give you a hug so big it's like they're never going to see you again.  They tell you they love you out of nowhere, in between bites at the dinner table.  They tell you they love spending time with our family, and that when they're in school they think about you on the playground.  They do all of these things that they couldn't do in the baby phase, all of the things that melt your heart on a daily basis and make you realize that even though the days will drag sometimes, the years are flying by and it's worth it to appreciate the phases they're in now.

So right now, I look back on the baby days with fondness, and with the realization that baby things are packed up in the attic and not needed anymore.  But before I know it, I'll be looking back at THIS phase, and saying things like "I remember when Jake was just learning to read all by himself!" or "Remember when Liam first moved to the preschool room?" as if those things were just yesterday, rather than years before.  

All of that being said, I leave you with this poem that's sure to tug at your heartstrings. 


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