I don’t like regrets. I don’t like the feeling that time slipped away before I could fully comprehend the splendor of the moment or season I was in while I was in it.
And here I am, here we are, in it. I am in the best years of my life and I know it. I cannot help but feel I have been given a gift by being able to recognize the beauty of the people and moments that surround me. But have I really? Or are we all simply blinded by the opinions society has forced into our minds and onto our hearts. The lists of articles and songs written about how “you’re gonna miss this” and “don’t blink” because this time in our lives is too short are a thousand miles long and it makes me crazy.
I am aware we go through seasons in life, and when the time has passed, it is really gone forever. I am aware that where I am now is exactly where I am meant to be. I get it. But no matter how deeply I understand these two concepts, I cannot, for the life of me, find peace in this beautiful, amazing, stage of life.
When my oldest was born, I lay in my hospital bed staring into her face, studying every little detail, amazed at creation: emotional, exhausted, overwhelmed, and so much more. An array of close family and friends filled the hospital room and one of the first things said to me by one of them was “blink and she will be 16, blink again and she will be the one having kids”. Though well-meaning, I could not help but add furious to my list of many emotions I was then feeling. I could not help but feel like this individual was trying to take my joy away. I felt I was being robbed in that moment, sucker punched right in the gut. How dare he force his regrets on me? How dare he make me feel like I cannot fully enjoy this time because I am too busy being worried that it is going to pass too quickly?
How dare anyone try to make a person feel like they cannot enjoy the time they are in because they know it is going to end? How could this be the focus?
Little did I know, that was just the tip of the iceberg.
I cannot go a day without running into someone who tells me with a wink that my children won’t be this little for much longer. I cannot go a day without reading the article about a mother of adult children begging me to hold on tightly to these years because they will soon be gone, a mother who is done having babies and cannot hold babies because it destroys her inside, a mother with a list of the 50 things I should do NOW to be a better mommy and have no regrets, and the mother with the 25 changes I can make so my children have a more meaningful childhood.
Are you kidding me?
It’s everywhere, and the worst part is my bipolar relationship with it; it’s well-meaning from the passerby, and it’s good advice from the sad mom of teen children. But it’s depressing. I smile at the passerby because I am kind, I read the blog post because its my kryptonite, but it’s depressing. Don’t you know I look my children in the face daily and try to memorize their faces for fear that tomorrow they’ll change? Don’t you know that I spend hours a day playing with my children, trying to cherish these moments when they want me and my company? Don’t you know that I fall asleep with one of them almost nightly because I am trying to hang on? Don’t you know I already feel guilty for working when my two oldest were babies, for not putting enough years between them? Don’t we have enough of our own trials and hardships? Do we need to voluntarily add to our mommy worries and our mommy to-do lists because of this guilt and shaming forced on us left and right?
Are we so focused on what tomorrow could, or even will inevitably bring that we do not delight in today?
As I look back to that first time I was confronted with the words that made me feel my child’s life was slipping through my fingertips before it had even begun, I force myself to be thankful for them. Because in that moment, in my vulnerable, musing state, I decided I was never going to feel the way he did. I chose to take in, not just these years, these days, but every. single. moment.
And I am.
The mommy-world mantra is “it goes too fast” followed closely by “the grass is always greener”; because of this I cannot help but feel we are being robbed of just being able to enjoy it. I feel like the world is beating it into me: hold them close, no closer, cuddle them, a little more, sleep with them, hug them, hold them, kiss them, it’ll be over soon, it went faster than I thought, whew! BUT, I’ve made a choice, I know none of this is going to change anytime soon and I vow to be a contributor to harmony and peace in the mommy world. So, I’ve chosen to consider it a blessing to be able to be reminded that this time is precious and I will do what I can so that I do not look back and wish for just one more day.
Let’s all agree to just slow it down and take it in, because no matter what season we are in or what we do to hold on, the day will come when it all ends and we want it all back. I refuse to allow these years with my littles to end up as a jumbled snapshot in time, to wish I would have done things differently or held on longer. I promise myself I will be thankful for today, instead of mournful of yesterday. This is my life, and wherever it takes me, I promise to love it and treasure it until the end.