There is something about the year ending and a new one beginning that gets us thinking about passage of time. How quickly that year went by, right? And when it comes to our kids, we can all agree that they seem to grow up too fast. We are constantly reminded about how fast they change. Just look back at a picture you took a year ago today and see if your heart doesn’t sink a little. What once was a chubby boy with a squinty grin is now a kid, a real kid, with enough muscle tone to make my husband jealous, a kid who can figure out the words we spell out in attempt to be secretive because he is starting to learn to read, and a kid who even has opinions on his bedroom décor – yes, the sweet print of Little Jack Horner has been replaced with a fathead of Tom Brady….*sigh*. And it’s all of these things compounded that make us realize, “Holy crap. They really do grow up so fast.”
Last week my husband and I decided to take the boys out for dinner, a task we rarely attempt because, let’s be real, who in the right mind would want to dine with a 1, a 3, and a 5 year old? It’s not a pretty sight unless you’re into chugging a beer and shoving French fries in your mouth as fast as you can in an effort to get out of there as fast as possible. The waitress typically wins out on a pity tip from the mess, but I digress. Of course, there was a wait to be seated. Of course. So as I sat on a bench attempting to keep my wiggly boys still while one whined for my phone, one wanted to be held, and one was attempting to climb on my head, I watched another family of 5 enter the restaurant. The three children were probably 10, 12, and 14 years old. Their mother spoke with the hostess, and returned reporting that it would be a 15 minute wait. The kids nodded their heads and just stood there. No, I don’t think you get it… They just stood there. They didn’t whine, they didn’t wiggle, they didn’t try to climb on her head. They stood, and watched, and waited. As I sat there in awe, the mother glanced over at the circus production that was happening on my lap and as I looked at her with a half smile and “help me” eyes, she looked right back at me, stuck her bottom lip out and puffed air out of her nose… the classic nostalgia face. She missed “those days”. The look on her face made me catch myself. I immediately retracted my envious feelings that her kids were waiting patiently while mine were clearly not. We exchanged no words, but her look was enough to remind me that someday my kids will stand still and wait and it will likely happen before I know it. Message received.
So how do we slow it down? Freeze time? Truly capture memories? These are the answers that we don’t have. The best we can do is to soak it all in. Watch them in motion. Stare at their faces. Listen to the sweet sounds of their little voices. Take a disgusting amount of pictures of them on our smart phones…… and feel the love they have for us because right now, there is so so so much of it. And we need to remember that soon enough when they are sitting and waiting patiently, we are probably going to be wishing that we had a toddler climbing on our head.
I’d like the last blog post of the year to end with something my middle boy said to me that made my heart sing. Something that I am soaking in for sure….. here goes:
“Mama, you’re pretty” (and no, that is not the part that made my heart sing…. okay… maybe just a little)
Oh, thanks little buddy. You are pretty too!
“Mom. I am NOT pretty!!”
You’re not? Then what are you?