I’ve always been a sentimental and nostalgic person. I get weepy at television commercials and have yet to make it all the way through “What a Wonderful World” without rubbing my eyes. I have more than 13,500 pictures on my phone (truthfully) because I simply cannot let a precious moment pass without capturing it forever on film. I didn’t use to care quite so much about preserving the present but parenthood has a way of making you realize all over again just how fast time moves on.
I have so many days when I verbally remind myself, “Soak this up. Live into this moment. Put the blasted phone down. Sit with your babies on the hardwood floor in the middle of the afternoon and eat a popsicle as the sun shines in from the window above the sink.”
I’m so quick to notice the obligations before me, that I often miss the blessings. While I’m concerned with the dishes, the dog, the errands or the to-do list, my babies are literally growing up before my eyes.
Instead, I answered a text halfway through and missed a good chunk of Act 2. I’ll never again get that exact moment back and the lost opportunity has been weighing on me since dinnertime. However, I’d be doing myself and my children a significant disservice to shoulder that blame and burden for too long.
So if we’re scrolling Instagram for five minutes in the kitchen while the kids play together in the living room, let’s give ourselves a little grace. If we don’t catch every word of the 10-minute diatribe it takes them to tell us about one tiny incident at school, that’s fine. It’s fine because we’re trying and we’re living into these moments the best way that we each know how.
There will be a period of time when friends will most likely be prioritized over mom and dad. Playdates turn into real dates. Remote-control toys and bikes with training wheels turn into cars. No one will need me to wash their hair or trim their toenails or clean behind their newly pierced ears. I’m so acutely aware of this fact that I’m trying desperately to cling to these days while they’re little and bottle them up. Yet, for all my efforts, I’m still focused on the shower that needs scrubbing or the yard that needs mowing.
I’m giving myself a little space to be scatterbrained, though. Just like I’m giving them the freedom to make messes, take up my entire side of the bed even though they’re a portion of my size, have a meltdown at three in the afternoon because their cupcake had the wrong color sprinkles, or come down the steps ten times before finally going to bed. Because being little is hard but so is being big. So let’s embrace the short-lived madness and the sacred mayhem. It’s only ours to juggle once and what a privilege.