It had been a long day of appointments, chores, play dates, home cooked meals, and constant entertainment. I started my morning off by rolling out of bed at 7:30 a.m. and lathered my hair in dry shampoo so we could rush off to the first appointment of the day. Not exactly how I would have envisioned spending one of our few days off work and school. Somehow these things take priority when time off between school and work aligns so rarely.
At day’s end we had been to the doctor and the orthodontist; had two haircuts; taken a trip to the park with friends; gone fishing and kayaking in our pond; done laundry; cleaned two entire trash bags of clothes out of closets; managed to cook a two-hour beef; and cleaned the kitchen.
My feet hurt, I was tired, I felt gross, and it was past my bedtime. As I finished up the last of the dishes, I was dreaming about soaking in a steaming hot bathtub. After all, I had earned it. But, the very moment I was loading the last dish with my bath nearly in sight, four little feet pitter-pattered into the kitchen wanting to know when I was going to start the campfire. Campfire? Since their noses were buried in electronics I thought (and secretly hoped) they had forgotten.
I stared at my almost 10-year-old boy and newly eight-year-old girl for a few seconds, wondering how we got here so quickly. The ringlets have begun to fall from her hair and his face is becoming more square than round. Most days, they amaze me with the things they know and understand. They are becoming more and more witty and wise. They no longer need me to draw their baths or dress them. They don’t always want to hold my hand in public. The constant attention they once demanded from me is now fulfilled by friends. They are growing up, right before my eyes.
So tonight, that bath can wait.
As parents, we get our fill of unsolicited advice. If I was told once, I was told one million times: “Cherish every moment, it goes by so fast.” Like most of the advice I received, I smiled kindly and forgot it two seconds later. When you’re changing diapers and lugging half the house around in a diaper bag, nothing seems like it’s moving fast. It feels like a snail’s pace at best. When you’re dealing with a temperamental two-year-old who always does the opposite of what you ask, time feels like it’s standing still. Until it’s not. Until you are standing in the kitchen looking at your nearly preteen children wondering if you wished away all of those days a little too quickly. Wondering if by wishing away the long days you inadvertently wished away the short years.
There will be many nights for that hot bath, mama. The nights will come when you will wish someone needing something would barge through that door and interrupt your relaxation. Tonight won’t be that night. Tonight, we will dance in the limited time we have left—the time of carefree fun and rose-colored glasses. Tonight, we will build fires, tell stories, roast marshmallows, and camp in the backyard. Tonight, we will make memories.
And that hot bath? Well ,it will still be there when these sweet littles aren’t.