“Enjoy these days, they pass by so quickly”. If I had a quarter for every time I heard some version of this all-too-true sentiment, I wouldn’t be squirreling away dollars in a sock under my mattress (just kidding, it’s a Tiffany & Co. box and I would never post its whereabouts on the internet). But seriously, I have a stranger – or three – tell me this every single week.
The other night, a video entitled “The Gift of an Ordinary Day” by Katrina Kenison caught my eye and while I usually avoid videos that I KNOW will make me cry, I pushed play. It was a seven minute video of a mom reading through moments captured in an ordinary day. Blowing bubbles, picking up socks, combing hair, etc. I didn’t have seven minutes to sit and watch a video at the time, so I fast-forwarded to the end expecting to hear thoughts or some kind of prose on these ordinary days.
Nope, she was still describing ordinary days, but this time the boys were in high school. Then college. I know she had boys because there was a slideshow going throughout the video giving a visual to these ordinary days.
I try to make my little corner of the internet a positive place. I also try to be honest and authentic. Perhaps, that’s why I haven’t had much to say over the last couple months. You know, ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’?
That probably sounds pretty dramatic, but the truth is every day in this chapter of my life is an ordinary day. It’s also a dream. My husband works hard at keeping criminals off your street and we work together to stay within our budget down to the dollar so I can stay home with our boys. It takes sacrifice on both of our parts – but let’s be honest – skipping out on the one-spot at Target or forgoing the Starbucks drive-thru isn’t a true sacrifice in light of all we have.
I get to see Little Brother (LB) tickle Big Brother (BB) every day. I get to hear their happy squeals from the back room. I get to be there the day BB first learns how to swing by himself. I get to witness all of LB’s first words. I am there for every knee scrape, runny nose, new discovery, brotherly tussle, conniption fit, giggle, random hug, and moment of disobedience.
It. Is. Exhausting. I am emotionally tired. I am also extremely grateful. I love these moments. I cherish these golden hours…and I’m also watching the clock for when Ty gets home. Each day is a day of internal struggle to be positive when it’s difficult and to soak in the sheer joy spilling out of my sons’ eyes.
So, when a seasoned mom reminds me that the days go by so quickly, I feel a tiny spasm of panic and try to redouble my efforts to soak in the sweetness, drama, confusion, frustration and exhilaration each day brings with my boys. This is when my kids want to play with me. I will have plenty of days to sit on the sidelines and watch – partly because I won’t be invited and partly because there’s no way I’ll be able to keep up with their athletic prowess.
I’ve started wondering if these well-intentioned people keep reminding me this because no one told them how fast the years fly by. Meanwhile, I’m putting together a photo book documenting LB’s first year of life and am caught off-guard to see BB rockin’ a pretty full diaper in the first few pictures. He hasn’t even been potty-trained a year! But it seems like it’s been forever since we said good-bye to his diapers and threw them in the trash (hosanna!).
The truth is, between the tantrums, the trail of dried cranberries on the floor, the stepped-on graham crackers, diapers, middle-of-the-night blanket adjustments, church crafts, long naps and short naps, I am in a season that is rather short. Neither of my kids are in school, but BB will be starting VPK in the fall. A new chapter. The first step in letting go.
I know, this sounds dramatic, but it starts with VPK and then before you know it, he’ll be waiting at the end of an aisle for another woman. Sheesh. Don’t rush me, all right?
So, this video dramatically portraying the gift of an ordinary day starting from babyhood and closing with an empty house kind of sent me into a tailspin.
And then I had another ordinary day and I realized – I am enjoying every moment. I’ve been soaking it all in so much, I’ve practically become a prune! I know time is flying, but I am here to see it all progress.
I run through the backyard on our “roller coaster” (basically just running after BB with my hands in the air), I dig in the sandbox, I build pretty impressive Lego towers and when I sit and watch their favorite TV shows I try really hard not to multitask. I also keep the fridge stocked at all times because I’m genuinely afraid of the aftermath of running out of snacks.
Soon enough, they will both be in school and I will be in a new chapter trying to decode one-word answers, re-learn math, make sure homework is completed and begin the cycle of after-school activities. I know they’ll be adults much longer than they’ll be toddlers. So I am soaking in every golden hour, every random snuggle and I’m trying really hard to soak in the tantrums – or at least file them away for when they are older or have kids of their own.
In fact, most moms (and dads!) I know are soaking it all in whether they stay home or work. So attention seasoned parents: we hear you! We’re doing it! Thank you for the advice – I believe I see a whole generation of parents who are working to be in the moment and enjoy every ordinary day.
But if you feel still like you need a good cry, just check out this video. Let it all come crashing in.