It used to annoy the heck out of me when well-meaning people would see me with three small kids and say, “Don’t blink. They’ll be up and grown before you know it.” Or maybe they would say, “Enjoy every second with those babies. They grow up so fast.” And then there was that sweet grandmotherly lady smiling at my three littles in the grocery store aisle who told me, “These are the best days of your life.” It sure didn’t feel like the best days of my life at that moment. Grocery shopping with three little kids is not usually anyone’s first pick for what to do in their free time.
I don’t know if it annoyed me because I was like, “I’m spending my days and nights with these little boogers and tending to their every need…loving them and reading books to them and playing with them, feeding them, bathing them, teaching them to count and know their colors and even how to read….I am not sure what else I am supposed to do!” It was like they were telling me to do something that I wasn’t really sure I was doing.
However, time has a way of teaching you. Teaching me. I can now understand what they were trying to communicate. I love the days we are in now, but those days past will never come again. I love the preteen girls that I am getting to know now, but those days of running around the house in tu-tu’s and plastic high heel shoes are over. I love seeing Mack absorbed in football and reading 6 fiction football-themed books in a matter of days now, but the baby Mack that toddled around in a diaper and rain boots is not coming back to my house.
Kind of sad to dwell on. That’s why I don’t normally dwell on those things. I do, however, think about how I was there!!! I was there for the late night feedings. I was there for the snuggles on cold mornings, baby in footie pajamas, of course! I was there for the first steps. I was there for the patty-cake games. I was there for popsicles and water sprinklers in the backyard (because a trip to the pool alone was too hard!). I was there for all the books. I was there for swinging in the back yard, strolls around the neighborhood, and afternoon snacks. I was there for the first time they read a book on their own. I was there when they got hurt. I was there to kiss the boo-boo and give a band-aid if they needed one and even if they didn’t. I was there.
I am so glad I was there. And to the young mama who rolls her eyes (in her mind) when the well-meaning people say, “Don’t blink. They will be up and grown before you know what happened!”—It’s true. They will grow up. Sooner than you think. But instead of wondering what that looks like or wondering if you will miss something along the way….just be there! Be there. Smile and laugh and don’t sweat the small stuff. These really are some amazing days you are in with the diapers and picture books and funny toddler conversations. But amazing days are likely ahead. These little creatures continue to challenge you, but they also continue to make you smile and make your heart so very proud.
Just be there.
What makes me write such sappy words? Well, Molly and Mack decided that their Reading Time would consist of their favorite books from when they were little. Gah! Nothing brings back memories like picture books or their favorite short read-alouds from when they were toddlers and early elementary aged. Days we will never get back, but days that were so much fun. Again, I am so glad I was there!
(Special shout-out to Josh who has always worked so hard so that I could be there. He’s the best.)