Have you seen those reels and posts saying things like, “You only get 12,763 hours with your child,” or, “By the time your child is 12, 80 percent of your time with them is over?” I’m sure I’m not getting the numbers exactly right, but you know those posts.
And I get it. I get the message. Enjoy your kids, it’s valuable time spent on your kids, children grow quickly—all of that. Totally resonates . . . and doesn’t make me feel great. It makes me feel worried. Like really worried I’m not doing enough, enjoying enough, being present enough. And yikes, I can almost see the hourglass running out (cue the Days of Our Lives theme song). But you know what? It doesn’t need to be like that.
Yes, I walk through the baby aisle at Nordstrom and catch my breath wishing I could go back and do it all again. Of course, I long for those new baby days and miss my daughter’s open bite as a toddler with her adorable way of speaking. I miss my first little boy’s head full of hair, and the way he would move his fingers when he drank a bottle. I miss my middle’s tiny little toddler voice, so smart and precocious.
But I also love watching movies as a whole family. Reading The Hardy Boys night after night with my busy middle. Watching my baby who is now six zooming around on her bike. Being able to leave my 10-year-old home briefly while I run his siblings to camp. The laughter from the basement when all three play video games together. Going to movies together. Watching them all swim so capably in the pool. Getting to know their friends’ parents. Watching lacrosse games even though I have no idea what is going on half the time.
And you know what else I love . . . I love talking to my own mom, every day. No exaggeration. I talk to her every day. We talk about big things, little things, my kids, laugh about funny things that happen, make plans for the next time we will see each other. We talk about issues we have with people, hard things we don’t want to admit, regrets. We talk about it ALL.
I absolutely know, without a doubt, these conversations with my mom will be some of my most treasured memories in this life. I will be grateful for every minute. Every funny story. Hearing about her old boyfriends, calling her to talk about something funny my sister did, telling her about reconnecting with an old college roommate, news about a friend. Crying with her about something hard. Giving her tough love when she can’t stop people pleasing. Ugly things. Scary things. Beautiful things.
She’s the first person I call with it all. It’s the greatest gift from her as a mother. Her time. Her perspective. Her presence. Her love.
When I think about my relationship with my own mom, I worry far less about the idea of “time running out” with my kids. I want to enjoy their littleness, and I completely do (most days), and when I don’t, I know there is so much more to come with mothering.
Yes, kids grow, things look different, and phases end . . . but love doesn’t, mothering doesn’t. Relationships don’t have to. I can enjoy this phase and be hopeful and excited for what’s coming. If I’m lucky—really, lucky—I will have with them, what my mom has with me. Constantness, reliability, understanding, support, friendship, love, life, and talking every day.