Sometimes I worry about not remembering these moments hard enough. The sounds of their voices, the way Chipmunk holds his hands out for me, the funny jokes Czarina tells… I am trying as hard as I can to soak it in, but there is a part of me that knows it will never be enough. My memory will not do the moments justice. And I wonder, what will motherhood be as these days fade– what will it feel like to be a mother to teenagers, and adults? I have become woefully addicted to the small, daily injections of utterly lovable moments. I am used to a certain amount of hugs and wet kisses and stick drawings. I am used to their squeaky voices. What would my day be without the smell of play-dough, the sound of bare feet padding down the hallway, or suspicious squeals of laughter from the back room?
This year, my oldest will be nine. I’ll also have a six, four, and two year old. I realize I’ve got a long way to go before they’re all up and out of here. But, NINE?? It’s beginning, people. The trek out. And I’m not ready for it, I’m really not.
It is hard enough to pack away the baby clothes they outgrow. Take off training wheels, move out of car seats, put away sippy cups… To watch their star-shaped hands become long and lean, holding pencils, writing cursive words… I feel like I’m saying goodbye to something new every single day. And today, it makes me sad. I never knew motherhood was so full of farewells, when it starts out with such a grand hello. It’s as if you hold your child that first time, and for a magical week or two, they just are. You are meeting each other, in a time outside of time. You are introduced. In love. You gaze at each other for hours that nobody is counting. But, as much as we would like to remain in that heavenly stasis, we do not, they do not. Without warning, they become kinetic forces, constantly moving forward. They hurtle headlong into life, whether you think they are ready or not. Whether you are ready or not.
It’s a marvelous, scary thing to witness. It’s achingly beautiful.
I sound blue, and I am, but I’m okay. Today it’s just a little more bitter than sweet. Tomorrow may be the opposite. I’ll just try, really really hard, to cement the here and now in my mind. Because I know, I’ll be clinging to these memories for the rest of my life. I cannot stop the clock, but I can mark the days in hugs and kissed booboos and silly songs for as long as they let me. And later, we will learn to mark the days in different ways, and rejoice in those, too.