Things feel like they’ve barely begun and now they’re ending.
It’s how they told me it would feel. By they, I mean the people in the grocery store, the people at the bank, the people at the park. The people who saw me walking around with four babies attached to my hip and felt the need to tell me just how quickly it would pass.
“They” annoyed me.
I privately threatened to get a shirt that said “Yes, they’re all mine. But if you ask me if ‘they’re a handful’ or ‘gosh, you must be busy,’ then you get to take one home with you.” But that was too long to put on a t-shirt so I simply loaded my four kids ages four and under into a grocery cart (or holding onto a grocery cart) and went about my business of buying groceries to feed our hungry family.
Side note: This was before grocery pick up or grocery deliveries. We now get most of our groceries delivered to our door, and I can’t even imagine how grateful young moms must feel about that. If I could have laid in bed, clicked some buttons and had groceries show up at my front door 17 years ago, I would have simply thought you were talking sci-fi future to me.
But here we are with delivered groceries and kids who are taller than their parents. It went as fast as the older people in the grocery store told me it would. Someone else told me “blink and you’ll miss it.” Back then, I kept blinking, hoping some things would speed up. Now I’m trying to keep my eyes wide open, so I can catch it all, knowing that these people are making plans to leave me and do their own thing.
Their dad and I can see it in their eyes. Eyes that are happy to be home, but looking “out there” too. It’s what we trained them for, really. But now we are kind of sad that we trained them so well. They all talk about going here, living there, doing that. I’m trying to convince them to build a house in my backyard and live with me forever. Not really, but sort of.
So what would I do differently if I could redo? A lot. If I could go back to that young girl who was pregnant with her firstborn and scared out of her mind, I would tell quit being scared, it’s going to be the best ride of your life. You’ll love them more than you ever imagined. You’ll work harder being their mom than you’ve ever worked at anything else, but they’ll be so worth it. There’s also going to be days when they drive you crazy, but those days are worth the other days. So stick with it.
I would tell her to let them skip more school in their younger years. Perfect attendance isn’t worth it, but skip out days with their mom will be cherished forever. Give them more grace. Some things aren’t as big of a deal once all the days are done. Teach them their worth because this world is trying to steal it at every corner. They’re valuable. Don’t let them forget it.
And maybe I would tell her to sit down more. Quit staying so busy, quit cleaning so much, quit making sure everything is “just so.” They’ll remember the books you read and the time you spent, but the clean house just gets dirty again. No one dies wishing they would have cleaned their toilet one more time.
And I would tell her that she would never imagine how crazy proud she will be of them. In spite of all their flaws and all her failures in raising them, they’re going to be the best part of you. So hold them tight, rock them to bed, because you’ll blink and it will all be gone.
But she would probably just be aggravated and hurry on her way because she has babies to raise, and stop giving her advice in the grocery store. So I’ll keep my thoughts to myself and hope someone out there spends just a little more time loving on the ones they love this month.