Motherhood days are stretched out and slow moving. They are sudden and fleeting. They are a series of tiny disasters mixed in with growth, belly laughs, tantrums, exploration, interruptions, snot, whining, and squeaky chatter.
It is a season, and it is forever shifting.
It’s food ground so deeply into the floors that you begin to think it’s just part of the wood grain.
It’s bottles, binkies, diapers, cribs — and then it’s not. It’s sleepless nights, sleep regressions, night terrors — and then it’s not. It’s potty training, sippy cups, high chairs — and then it’s not. It’s preschool, art projects on the wall, birthday parties — and then it’s not. It’s big backpacks on little bodies, homework, ballet lessons — and then it’s not. It’s independence, slumber parties, acne — and then it’s not. It’s curfews, driver’s education, college applications — and then it’s not.
And just like that another season has passed. None of us know where the time goes. It simply passes us by.
Some days, I try to fill those long afternoons in a desperate attempt to make bedtime approach quicker. And other days, I try to hang on to every morsel of this season, because its passing is inevitable. I can feel it slipping through my fingers as I watch little baby bodies lengthen and sentences begin to form.
On hard days, (You know those days. The ones filled with enough whining to last a lifetime. The ones where you can’t seem to satisfy anyone, let alone yourself. The ones where all you feel like you do is feed, clean, feed, repeat. The ones where nobody brushes their teeth. The ones where a trip to the grocery store with your kids makes you feel like you might have a heart attack. The ones where you wish you could go to the bathroom alone. Those days.) I like to remind myself that this is simply a season. I’m experiencing an era of my life that won’t be here forever — and someday, I’ll look back on this with longing.
One day, I’ll wake up and run to the store by myself. I’ll see a young mother struggling with her stroller, cart, groceries, and crying babies. She’ll wipe the sweat off her forehead, and I’ll watch her knowingly. It won’t be me anymore.
It won’t be me anymore.
I know that I’ll always be a mother. But I also know that with the change of seasons comes letting go.
And so, as I sit here carefully in the middle of this toddler season, I let the feelings seep through my body. I think about how it feels to be so urgently needed, to hear little voices call me mommy, to feel tiny little arms wrap tightly around my neck, to be downright bone-achingly tired. I immerse myself in the intoxicating feeling of love. I memorize the way my child yells my name in delight and runs to me after being away (has anyone ever been that excited to see me?).
Motherhood is a season — the good and the bad, the sweet moments sprinkled in with the hard days. It’s raising babies, then kids, then teenagers, then adults — each is an ever moving season, and I want to hang on so tightly to the one I’m in now.
Because before I know it, this sweet summer will be gone.
In this world of change, nothing which comes stays, and nothing which goes is lost. Anne Sophie Swetchine