So are the days of our lives

This morning as I was ordering coffee at Ye Olde Coffee Shop, the barista set a drink down on the bar and called out “Max!” Now I know Max is not an uncommon name, but still I looked around with a little more interest than usual to see who would approach. A burly, giant of a college kid (I see a lot of college kids these days) with hairy legs and biceps the size of my head came loping over and picked up his soy no-foam triple shot latte or whatever, and all I could think as I watched him add 13 packs of sugar was Max will be that size one day. I even almost said something to him, but (LUCKILY) stopped myself. Because what would I have said? “My baby has the same name as you and he’s little but you’re big and he’ll be big like you before I even know it and I’m that mom aren’t I oh god.”

Sometimes my filter works, and when it does, my guardian angels rejoice.

All my (few) posts of late have had this common theme, it seems. I feel stuck in this nostalgia place. This lens through which I see my kids that projects them as babies and children and grownups all as one mashed up amalgam, and so as I’m helping Rosie put on her brand new backpack for “big school” (Pre-K) that starts next Thursday, I’m also putting it on 9-month Rosie with spiky hair and cheeks for days and 16-year-old Rosie talking on a cellphone that holds a list of contacts a mile long. Max toddles around, but I see him running after a soccer ball at the same time, curls bouncing in the breeze. I watch Noah leave for a week with his grandparents and my mind’s eye sees him driving off to college after a weekend of laundry and napping and eating all our food.

Ironically, after my encounter with the mega-Max at the coffee shop, I came back to my desk to see an article titled “The Sweet Spot” on a friend’s Facebook page, and as I read it I thought whoa, hello inside of my head. My kids may not be quite as old as Julianna Miner’s, but the sentiment she lays out about her kids being little/big? Nailed it.

“I get it now. They were right. Everyone who said it would go by so fast. It’s happening to me. It’s whizzing by. When my three kids were very little, the days were so long and my world felt very small and sometimes very lonely. If the days were long, the nights were longer. The hour before my husband got home from work? It took three days to get through that hour.

But there was also the smell of the top of their baby heads. And the pudgy, little kissable feet, that are now big and stinky. Their bodies that used to be part of me, are now entirely their own. They’re not little anymore. That part of my life is over. And I find myself here, with three medium sized kids, in the sweet spot. I’m equal parts grateful and terrified.”

Bingo, with one caveat: I’m not sure if “terrified” is the word I would choose to end that last sentence with. Maybe “sad” or “wistful?” Because that’s how it’s been going down in my brain/heart parts. I’ve been kissing Max one (or five) too many times, trying to sop up all the baby I can. (I know he’s technically a toddler now. I know this. I knowwwwwww.) I’m not so much terrified of the future—after all, the oldest kid I’ve got has continued to be awesome all the way to 8, and I suspect more awesomeness awaits, for all three kids—as I am melancholy about what’s gone forever. (At least tangibly.) No more wispy baby hair pigtails. No more swaddled up burrito-style babies. No more bottles grasped by sticky chubby hands. No more first steps.

Good things are still to come, but for today (and maybe tomorrow and a few days after that) I’m dwelling a while in the remembering place, trying in vain to hold on to sands whose destination is and always has been the other side of the hourglass.

kids

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