The days are long but the years are short.

This is one of the truest nuggets of overused parenting wisdom we throw around to each other. It lives on because we feel it in our very bones.

Today was a barnacle boy day. This kid didn’t leave my side. We were best buds and I was resident LEGO builder and TV watcher and basically as long as we were living life with little to I space between us that life was good.

Some days are like that . . . they simply need us to be there.

And those days can feel like they are roughly eleventy billion hours long. When you can’t walk out of a room without someone trailing after you and you can’t complete a thought because someone’s voice is in your ear and you can’t sit down for a second and just shut your eyes because why are you sleeping mommy . . . let me just sit here and help you stay awake.

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And you wish for time to just step it up already so this day can just be over and you can rest.

Oh man, the days are sometimes just really, really long.

And then the night comes, and a small arm stretches across you, holding you tight…barnacling even in sleep, and you realize the arm looks long and strong and the baby it’s attached to somehow stretches long under the covers.

And you wonder where the time has gone.

And you wonder how many more nights he will want to lay by you.

And you wonder just how long it will be before he spends his day behind a closed door of his room or biking off with friends for the day.

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And you wish to slow time down to a crawl because you just love this child with your heart that feels like it could burst with the sweetness of it all.

Time is a tricky thing when you’re a parent. It twists and stretches in ways that make you feel like you have all the time in the world and also you’re almost out of it.

But in these sweet middle of the night moments, just for a bit, you can stop it altogether. You can memorize every single bit of this little person, the way their breathing sounds and how their eyelashes look on their smooth little perfect cheeks and how they feel snuggled so safely next to you where you can imagine you’d actually be able to protect them forever. You can memorize this life and tuck it into your heart where it will live for always.

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A little piece of stopped time. A gift to yourself for all the rest of your days.

The days are long and the years are short.

But the middle of the night moments can be magic.

This post originally appeared on Hiding In the Closet with Coffee by Amy Betters-Midtvedt


Amy Betters-Midtvedt

Amy Betters-Midtvedt is a writer, educator, mom of 5 crazy kids, wife to a patient husband, and lover of Jesus. She writes along with her friend and former teaching partner Erin over at Hiding in the Closet With Coffee. Our mission is to help parents find sanity and joy, and we know sometimes joy is found hiding out in the closet with coffee, or hiding out on Facebook — come and join us both! You can read more about us here. You can also find us hiding out over at InstagramPinterest, and Twitter.