As I said, these articles are really well written. They're humorous, they're TRUE, they're validating and they resonate with moms and dads everywhere that are in the thick of it - the years when little ones are little.
But I'm standing from a different viewpoint. My view is of two big brown eyed girls that with every week seem to somehow grow taller. My view looking down is of a girl who loves to snuggle me, and thank God still does, but her legs stretch long and hit the floor as she tries to curl up on me. We cling to each other, desperate to make the snuggle work, but uncurl arms and legs after only a few minutes because the puzzle pieces have changed. I stand, suggesting we lay on her bed instead and though she still asks to be carried, I make her walk or get on my back because I just can't lift her. Reading books we now sit side by side and most often, I am read to instead. I remember like yesterday picking them up in Sunday school and although we had only been apart an hour, they'd run to me yelling "Mommy!" and jump in my arms. I marveled at their joy of simply seeing me, and noticed that many children didn't scream, jump and run. They rarely do anymore - now they ask for a few more minutes and then take off with friends.
They are still young. They still wave to me from their seats on the bus in the morning, Tate blowing kisses and signing "I love you." They still love tuck-ins, back scratches as they watch a movie, going to playgrounds and the pool together, playing a game on the floor. They still color me pictures and leave me lovenotes. They are still young, they are still young. I tell myself this all the time.
Perhaps if we hadn't lost a baby last year I'd feel a bit differently. But as my view is changing, I can't help but feel my heart break a little as these young years wane. I can't explain exactly why, because YES I do remember how difficult those years were. I remember peeing with a child on my lap. I remember peeing without a child on my lap, only to emerge from the bathroom and find that one of them had gotten into my food coloring and emptied all tubes on herself and my kitchen. I remember vaccines, doctor appointments, "I wish I knew what is wrong!" I remember wanting to choke the Wiggles and yet thank them for entertaining my girls so I could clean, I remember my house never being clean, I remember feeling trapped within my house that we couldn't afford to do a thing to because I stayed home. I remembering begging God to PLEASE have her STOP CRYING, I remember begging God for sleep, I remember begging God that they wouldn't cry at MOPS so I could have a hot breakfast and talk with friends without kids climbing up my legs. I remember begging God that we could make it through the day. I remember.
But...I also remember little voices and little hands. Their trust in me, and that I was their world. I remember how it feels to nurse a baby and have them look up at you as they pull on your hair or squeeze your fingers. I remember story time at the library and Barnes and Noble. I remember standing at the bottom of the slide feeling such pride as the big girl (oh but so little and I didn't know it!) made her way down without her sister for the first time. I remember play dates and long phone calls with friends to help me make it through just a few more hours until Daddy gets home. I remember bouncing with a baby in a sunbonnet in the pool as she splashed her dimpled hands in the water, screeching with joy. I remember Bailey's phase of calling everyone "honey" or "sweetie" and how she'd hug and kiss everything, even garbage cans. I remember our first ride through Small World and that we had to ride it what felt like 10 times in a row every day while there in Disney. I remember Tate on Kevin's shoulders and Bailey on Poppy's as they saw fireworks above Cinderella's castle. I remember their awe, and it was pure magic just like the Disney commercials say. I remember.
If there's one thing I've learned from being a mother is that it's complicated. Just when you get the hang of one thing, something else pops up. You can feel 10 different ways all at once. Yes, I remember those hard years and there are things I don't miss about them. But so many things I do miss. I am so thankful my girls are growing, and truly very healthy considering Bailey's CF. But as I checked on them last night, both long in their beds, I wished to go back, just for a minute. I do wish I had done some things different. Played more on the floor, counted to ten before becoming unglued, cuddling for longer before sprinting out to my spot on the couch next to Kevin to watch television that didn't feature theme songs I couldn't get out of my head for days.
You see, it's all true. The articles that are loved by preschool parents everywhere, in agreement that these years are so hard and do not tell me I will miss this or I will hurt your face.
But I do miss this.
She needed me to hold her. She still needs me, but not like this.
So I guess what I'm saying is, forgive me and don't hurt my face when I look longingly at you as you hold a preschooler by the hand, even as she's trying to run the other way and you're also trying to juggle holding a diaper bag and a crying infant. Yes, I'm jealous of you even still. And I get that you're jealous of me, with my ability to earn some money again, have hot coffee and have time to myself. I get it.
So perhaps, I will try to remember harder how it feels to be sleep deprived, hungry for food not eaten over the sink, and thirsty for friendship that is unconditional. If you will try to remember that these years are precious, and they are a gift. Some women would give their right arm to be in your shoes.
Motherhood is hard.
Happy Mother's Day.