It seems at least once a week, some old lady will stop me in the grocery store, look at my kids and say, “Oh, just enjoy every minute! It goes by so fast.” And I nod, and I smile. But sometimes, all I really want to do is throw my hands in the air and scream, “You don’t REMEMBER what it’s LIKE!”
Truth is – I DON’T enjoy every minute. I will NOT enjoy collapsing into bed exhausted every night, knowing I’ll probably be awoken in a few hours to a crying baby. I don’t enjoy stuffing a flailing, muddy toddler into a stroller and hearing him shriek the whole way home. I don’t enjoy the twice-daily crocodile wrestling match that is two-year-old teeth brushing, or being slapped in the face while trying to negotiate my toddler into pants so we can go be late to wherever we’re going. I especially don’t love the moaning, the tantrums, and the poop. So. Much. Poop. There are things about motherhood I KNOW I won’t miss.
And yet, a deeper part of me knows those old ladies are right. Those ladies who live in their pristine homes and eat their meals uninterrupted, who leave their houses whenever they want and wake up feeling refreshed after a full night’s rest – they’re right, dang it! I know it in my soul and I know every minute I spend miserable is a minute wasted.
I can see it when I look at pictures of when Mason was a baby, or even just 6 months ago. He changes so much so quickly. I feel so nostalgic and happy, and then devastated that that little tiny Mason is already gone and replaced by a new one that speaks in the 1st person and doesn’t make puppy sounds to get my attention. And even though I know this, it doesn’t make it easier. I know I will miss it, but it’s still hard, and sometimes downright terrible. Enjoying the good moments is easy – the magic of Christmas morning, the first-time baby giggles. But it’s the in-between that might get lost in the hustle. And so while I think it’s probably okay that I can’t enjoy every hard minute, I’m trying a little harder every day to savor the in-between.
I can enjoy when Olivia happily flaps her arms in her crib and beams up at me when I go get her out of her crib in the morning. I can stop being bothered that the puzzle pieces are scattered all over the floor, and I can just get down and play with them instead. I can stop worrying that my bathroom is scummy and disgusting, and can instead just gaze into my baby’s crystal blue eyes because she won’t gaze back at me forever. I can have a clean bathroom when I’m the old lady in the grocery store. I can try harder to be present in every moment. I can let my heart melt when Mason picks out a rock just for me to hold while he’s running around outside. I can share his joy when we circle the parking lot an extra time just to go over the speed bumps one more time, or I can just sit and smell my baby’s head for awhile. These are the moments I won’t realize I’ll miss. Not the snotty noses, and not even the big, perfect, beautiful moments, but the ones in-between. I’m trying harder to savor THOSE moments, to be grateful for right now, and to forgive myself when I can’t.
So, here’s a picture of Mason giving Olivia a wet Willie. It wasn’t a good moment; it wasn’t terrible either. It was kinda in-between.