It’s fitting, as I sit here with my vodka, the first blog I’ve written in months, Kenny Chesney’s “There Goes My Life” comes on.
Well played, Pandora.
Life, it goes by in a blink, doesn’t it? I remember when Dylan was born. When I was pregnant with him, I planned like a crazy woman. I had everything ready. I looked at my every growing belly every day and saw it as just that: a belly with a baby in it. I imagined what he would look like. I daydreamed of having my little blondie in my arms (I knew he would be blonde. I don’t know how, but I knew).
But when he was born, and I saw his little face, I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t prepared for that feeling. I wasn’t prepared for the immediate and undying desire to love him more than he’s ever been loved and protect him without consequence. I’ve heard about it, of course. But I never felt it. Until that moment.
I experienced the same emotion when my baby girl was laid on my chest 2 years and 9 months later.
I’ve had so many dreams for them. I couldn’t wait to get to know them. Who are they? Who are they going to become? What are they going to be like? I couldn’t WAIT to find out. I wished away those first few years more times than I could count.
Those first years were amazing and agonizing. The joys of smiles and first words were accompanied by vomit and poop. Lots and lots and lots of poop. Adorable little moments followed by “did you just write in permanent marker on the walls….AGAIN?!?!?” Little hugs and “I wuv you”. Then, in Target, “daddy and mommy ‘wrestle’ a lot”. Dancing in the bathtub to struggles putting on the simplest of clothes.
Tantrums – lots of tantrums. Messes – lots of messes. Mattresses soaked with pee – lots of mattresses soaked with pee. Dinners of ice cream. Breakfast of…whatever is left. Saturday mornings begin with a tap on the forehead by a toddler claiming they made “art” in the kitchen.
“It’s just eggs”, you think. “It’s just a dozen eggs broken in the vase my grandma left me. No big deal. It’s okay. After all, I have vodka….that I’ll have right now…at 9 a.m. on a Sunday.”
Many warrior mothers who came before me told me I would miss it. They looked at me and smiled the all-knowing smile of “been there, done that”. They never batted an eye at my stories. They told me their own stories about how their kid ate their poop or took down a whole shelf at the grocery store. And they look back on it and laugh. Because their “baby” is now 23 making a life of their own.
That’s when it hits you. The phase that seems to go on forever…doesn’t. My first baby is 9. My second baby is 6. I blinked, and my babies are not babies anymore.
I have so much to look forward to in these next 10 years. But as I sit here tonight with my vodka and country music, I am much less excited about the people my kids will become. I am much less concerned about guessing their future occupations. I just want time to slow down.
That’s the joy and the pain of parenthood, isn’t it? Wanting to enjoy the moments yet wish them away in the same breath. Your kid is driving you insane because they are dismissing dinner because he suddenly hates spaghetti. Your daughter hides her underwear because she “accidently” poops in them.
Your son gets the grapes out for a snack and eats them illegally on the couch and now you have grapes in between the cushions. Dirty socks because they refuse to wear shoes outside. Cries as you try to get the gum out of their hair with peanut butter and an ice cube. Nursing wounds from when they went “no hands” on a fucking scooter.
But then you sit back, and you realize how fast these years have gone. And you realize that in just a second, those little mess makers will be creating a life of their own. They will be off becoming the people they were meant to become.
And there you are. You’re still a mom, of course. You’re a mom with a really clean house with impeccable landscaping and a guest room to die for. Your appliances don’t have a finger print on them. Laundry is done in an hour. The bathroom is always clean. Beds are always made. Nothing is hiding in the couches and shoes are always were they should be.
Sounds awesome, right?
Then you think back to the times when you could scream; when you couldn’t get them to eat veggies no matter how hard you tried. You think back to the times when you were up at 2 a.m. because they were sick or 5 a.m. because that’s just when they decided they wanted to get up for the day…on a Sunday.
And you miss it.
I am still curious to see who my kids will become. I am a spectator in their adventures. Being a parent is exciting. Yet, as I look back on the last 9 years and look forward to the next 9 years, my only hope is that I don’t wish it all away in anticipation of what is to come.
Because I fear that I will blink and I’ll miss this too.