We have all read the articles which remind us (guilt us) about how short childhood is, and to cherish every minute. While I know how utterly true that is, especially with my daughter entering her Senior year in high school, I also know that while the years fly by, the days can stretch on eternally.
I tend to vacillate wildly between melancholy for the years that have flown by and the tedium of the moment. No matter what I do, I never seem to achieve balance.
Full time parenting is draining. Some days I wish I could don an invisibility cloak every time my youngest comes up and says, “Wanna play?” while simultaneously melting because the way he says it is so darling I could just squish him. How can I wish he would stop saying something so much and wish he’d never stop saying something so cute in the same breath? I’m a mom, that’s how.
I know so many moms who are drowning in the moments and clinging to the years. I know I’m not alone in my strife, but still the juxtaposition between making it through never-ending days and flying years breeds shame that adds weight to the burden of parenting and it’s just so much to bear. When I feel like I can hardly breathe from the smothering of the needs of my children, the last thing I need is the weight of being told to cherish these days to be added to my burden, but I do think that we can stand to remember how to squeeze the sweetness out of days that feel more like lemons than lemonade.
For me, that means pausing for the tender moments. I don’t feel like I have it in me to cherish every moment of these long days of motherhood, but I do have it in me to push the pause button on the moments that deserve it. Those sweet, spontaneous hugs, the paroxysms of laughter and delight, and the bed time when somehow it actually goes right and the sweetness is almost too much to bear. If we relish those times, drink them in and allow them to ripen, I believe we are making the most of these days, and can squash our regrets when these days are long gone and our homes are far too quiet.
And always, always wait for them to let go of the hug first.