How on earth does that happen?
A friend of mine shared a quote with me that may be entirely too accurate in describing this strange phenomenon: when parenting, the days last forever, but the years fly by. I believe that is true for life in general.
In high school, I wished the time away, because it was high school. I lamented the time-suck that was organized education, and the laughably light load of responsibility my part time job(s) put on me. Yet, at the same time, I was having the time of my life. My friends were a tight-knit group of awesome, surprisingly well-behaved (comparatively speaking), kind and supportive kids, and we had lots of care-free fun. I loved being the star and soul of the softball team (my old teammates may disagree as to whether that was my actual role, but deep in their hearts, they know it was true...) I loved singing in the choir, I loved working on the newspaper staff, and I loved the lazy summer days spent at the lake. We got some impressive sunburns there.
Now, as I look back, those are some sweet "good old days". I thought they would never end, at the time, and yet they went by so fast.
Stephan proposed to me 6 months into our relationship. We set the date for 6 months later. Those were the longest 6 months of my young life. The planning, the preparations, the tantalizing waiting! I had a countdown going until the big day. My future husband had a countdown going for the start of Cowboys' football. I still married him. In that time of excitement and anxiety and an impressive show of self control, it felt like that special May 12th was years and years away.
Boy, that day flew by so fast. That was 8 years ago.
When I was enduring my stunted stay in the frustrating quagmire that was my college experience, I would sit in a class, staring at the wall, daydreaming of my handsome boyfriend-who-quickly-turned-fiancee-and-then-husband, and think to myself, "Woah, I found the place were time stands still." Everything about collage was annoying to me. I didn't want to be there. I was doing what I had to do because that's what everyone said everyone has to do. The instant I got pregnant and uncomfortable enough to convince Stephan that college was unnecessary for my chosen vocation of home management, I tossed up the deuces to the University of Texas in Tyler and settled in to the life of a stay at home wife and mother.
I thought my time there would never end. It passed by so quickly. Good riddance, college.
As I sat on the couch in my quaint, quiet house, my very new baby nestled on my propped up thighs, I counted his toes and waved his arms and tried my best to get any reaction out of him as he tried his best to go back to sleep. (Baby Wise says it's wake-time right now, kid. Sorry.) I was barely three weeks into my first go as a mother. My newborn son was everything I had dreamed about and prayed for for a long time. I loved him so much! He was perfect! He was healthy and adorable and looked like his daddy. I was living the life that I had always wanted! And I was beating myself up with guilt because I was bored. Noah's days were unending cycles of eat, stare at lights, poo-poo-tee-tee, sleep, repeat. And I was only really needed for the eat/poo-poo-tee-tee part. I tried my best to enjoy every moment, because everybody and their mom (especially their mom) tells you to, but often I found myself willing my baby boy to hurry and reach that next big milestone! I thought those days were going to last forever. Now, I have a five year-old who is going to start Kindergarten this fall.
Foolish, stupid me, did you really try your hardest to enjoy every moment? Because I can hardly remember that first year, and that makes me far sadder than I like to think about.
A few weeks back, Stephan and I were wrapping up a Netflix binge-session with The Office, and something that was said in the finale by the character Andy Bernard really struck me. It was said with the intention of being poignant, yet humorous, a feat few sitcoms on tv can successfully achieve. The Nard-Dog said, after summing up his time at Dunder Mifflin Paper Co., "I wish we could know we were in the 'good old times' before they became the 'good old times'."
Amen and amen, Nard-Dog.
After the flash in the pan that was Naoh's infancy, I pledged to do a better job of soaking in every moment with my future children. I can clearly recall the feeling of self-satisfaction I had once when Witten was a small baby. I thought that I was doing it! I was stamping those moments so permanently in my brain that even my goldfish-level memory wouldn't forget what it was like when I was loving on my little baby. Of course, that's the only clear memory of Witten's baby-hood that I can recall.
So what can I do?
Praise God for the invention of the photograph. Thank goodness I was bored enough to try my hand at blogging that one night 6 years ago. And please, Lord, help me, now and always, to truly, truly relish and live in these fleeting moment. These boys often drive me nuts, and I experience far more parenting fails than I'd like to admit, but I don't want my life to be hurried living, ended by wistful remembering. Be with me in every one of these moments, Lord, so that I can live a life that brings you glory.
And, as always, please save my children.
|Aren't they precious?|