These are the kind of comments I have gotten from well-meaning strangers, older parents, and anyone watching my kids since I entered baby town almost six years ago. People always like to say these things at the weirdest moments too. It was never when my kids were all behaving out in public (probably because that rarely happens) that I’d get these not so subtle reminders. It was the target meltdowns and chick fila diaper explosions. It was days when the baby was inconsolable while grocery shopping and then another kid would loudly announce they had to pee while the oldest asked one hundred times for a new stuffed animal. Perhaps it was because they knew it was all true and they wanted to make sure I remembered.
To be honest, there have been lots of points over the last five years that I didn’t think any of it was true.
Like when we had a newborn and were living on fragmented sleep and lots of coffee. Or when we had a baby, a potty training toddler, and then found out Claire had severe eye issues and I was more overwhelmed than I knew was humanly possible. Or when Briggs was born and Claire was way under two and I yelled outside the car before we left our house one day “why is this so hard”? Or every winter when flu season rolls around and we all live in fear for a few months (ok maybe no one actually misses that). Or those days when I look at the clock and realize there are way too many hours before bedtime. Or anytime Ben and I have fought out of pure exhaustion or desperation because it’s hard to connect with so many little people needing you.
On those days I thought, there’s no way I’ll miss it, it doesn’t seem to be going by at anything but a snail’s pace and all I cherish somedays are bedtime and naptime. I thought maybe this was all concocted by sentimental moms and grandmothers who forgot all of the really hard details that motherhood really consists of.
Yet here I am about to graduate one kid out of the baby years and one more into school and I looked at a mom with just a newborn the other day and said, “enjoy every moment, it goes so fast.” And I meant every word.
Because while I hate to admit this, it’s all true. You will, in fact, miss it one day. Colbie, our 30 lb baby, will be two in two months and I realized I really don’t have a baby anymore. I do miss it. I miss holding a little baby on my hip even if it was always at the most inconvenient times. I am about to enter what I once thought of as parenting mecca when one kid goes to “real” school and the other two will be in preschool yet somehow its bittersweet (the real school not preschool… preschool is the bomb). I’m mourning the time I won’t have with her anymore. I’ve only got one kid in diapers and… actually, I’m good with that.
It really is all true though, time chases you down in the midst of you chasing down all these little ones and you wake up and realize you’re in a new season. Sure, you enjoy it, but you get a little sappy at night (when they are all asleep) and remember the days when they weren’t so independent.
So, mommas, I’m here to tell you it’s all true, I only have one foot out of this season and I already miss it. I blinked and Claire has her first day of kindergarten next week. I do think these precious years where we’ve been in somewhat of a cocoon of home and preschool are awesome. I do know there is much good that lies ahead but we are about to crack open the cocoon just a tiny bit and let the light shine on all the real imperfections of the world. Gone will be the days of PJs till mid-morning and all of us snuggled in my bed watching cartoons while I drink coffee and wake up.
The real truth about this season is it teaches you so much if you let it, for me it’s been utter dependence on God. It’s taught me to soften and take time for life hurts both big and little. It has taught me that I cannot do it all but on the flip side I am far more capable than I ever gave myself credit for. It had shown me that I do not have control of much but I can always control how well I love others. It has shown me that community is vital and investing in friends is worth so much more than I thought. Mostly it has taught me to give grace, to others and myself, most of us are doing the best we can.
So for all of you teetering on the brink of exhaustion wondering if you will ever actually miss it, you will. I promise.