Dear Sweet Moms,
This week I am experiencing my first Spring Break with our son Jack since he’s been in college! I am thrilled to have all three of my “babies” under the same roof. I love to see him come downstairs once again in the morning and I am super thrilled to hang out with him in the evenings, as most of his friends had Spring break prior to this week so he’s tolerating me. We have talked a lot. I’ve been cooking him his favorite foods, we’ve watched a few movies, and laughed a ton. I wrote back in August about him “missing from my dinner table” and it has been an adjustment for sure. But as I sit here writing and thinking, I am struck by memories of the kids being little that I can’t seem to recall, and it’s painful.
I remember reading a really great blog post many years ago about all of the “lasts” in the lives of your children and it made me really stop and think. I have never been one to wish away time with my kids. I never wanted summer to end when they were all off, and when we had snow days, I wanted them to last forever. I thought that I was paying attention. I thought that I was appreciating my time with them, but now I realize maybe I could have done a better job! You see, all of those lasts have happened for me; the last time they wanted me to tuck them in to bed with a kiss and a prayer, the last time they needed my help brushing their teeth or taking a bath, the last time they wanted a bedtime story, and the last time they wanted to crawl into bed with us because of a bad dream, thunder, or a belly ache. All of those moments are in my past. I look at my journals to try and remember the funny things they once said, and I rack my brain constantly to try and hold on to every single memory that I still have.
When our babies are little, everything feels chaotic. We are overwhelmed constantly with their immediate needs and they are plentiful. Every single moment, whether you stay at home or work out of the home, is consumed by these fabulous little beings. What will we feed them tonight for dinner, do they need a bath? Are they feeling OK, is it time for a check up? Are they getting enough positive stimulation and teaching for their brains to absorb, because of course they are gifted! Lol!! Being a mom is the greatest gift in the world, but it is also the toughest job ever! When you are in those moments where sleep is lacking, everyone is fussing, no one is listening, and you are totally overwhelmed, I beg you to STOP! Just stop. Take a moment to breathe in and out. Take a moment to observe what’s going on. Look at the madness and appreciate it. Easier said than done, I know! You may have one screaming on the floor, one coloring on a wall, or one climbing a wall, as my youngest did on a regular basis, but frame that moment in your brain and hang onto it for dear life. Imprint that feeling of gratefulness on your heart, because without the chaos you cannot truly appreciate the calm. Take in their perfect little faces and hands, their messiness, their smiles and their tears, because you will blink and it will be over.
Each phase has been a blessing to me. I have spent countless hours running back and forth from music lessons, soccer, baseball, cross-country, track, dance, and so many other school events, but I am grateful. Trust me, I have had plenty of moments where I was a disaster as a parent, but I am still grateful. When I take the kids to all of those places it means that they are still with me. It means that the chaos is alive and well! One has left the nest, another will be gone in two years, and my last in five, so I am trying to savor the moments I still have. Having three teenagers is a challenge in a different way, but I don’t want to miss a second! By stopping to breathe and take in the good and bad moments even now, I am appreciating those car rides more than ever before. It’s my last chance to have them close and listen to them. They actually tell me what’s going on in their lives, and that’s pretty amazing.
It is so difficult sometimes to see the light through the trees, but I promise if you stop to take it all in, even when it’s really tough, your entire outlook will shift. You will realize that this too shall pass, and what’s on the other side is quite beautiful. I wish that I could somehow recall all of the moments that I have forgotten, and I know it’s because I forgot to stop. I let the little things become big things and that is a regret. I wish I had a time machine because if I did I would go back to the craziest moments, the ones that really challenged my sanity. Maybe then I would have realized those moments were only a blip in the grand scheme of raising these perfect people who I have had the pleasure of being a mom to. They are the greatest gifts of my life.
If you’re currently feeling overwhelmed, tired, anxious, or just plain done, remember to stop and breathe my friends. Maybe, just maybe, you will see things in a whole new light, because I promise there is light at the end of that tunnel, a big , bright, crazy beautiful light!! Peace….and that’s my dish.