I think I have read (and/or written) about a hundred status updates or blog posts about the joys of motherhood – the amazing moments right after delivery when the world slows down to the beating of your baby’s heartbeat on your chest, her small breaths on your skin. Or the moments of catharsis when your child has taught you a lesson on patience, while pooping on the living room floor. Oh, how we should savor every last moment, how we only hold their small hands for these short years and then they are gone.
And I fully endorse embracing the moment – loving every last dirty palmed four year old who comes running inside to show you the worm they uncovered from beside the swing set, enjoying every squishy hug that brings their cool cheeks against your own, every Eskimo kiss or noggin (as the case may be in my house.)
Cue tears and Bob Carlisle’s Butterfly Kisses.
But having returned from ten days apart from my babies, I feel I have to say – and please don’t take this as me not loving motherhood in anyway – but it’s going to be okay when they grow up. I am going to be okay.
I am going to be okay without wiping up spilled juice ten times a day. I am going to be okay being able to run on the treadmill without stopping every three minutes to make sure that there isn’t a child sneaking up behind me, without laying towels on the couch to sop of spots of mysterious wetness.
Thing is, there were long hours that would pass while Vinnie and I were away that I did not even think of my children. I thought of how beautiful the sky reflecting on the water was, how nice it felt to walk lap after lap around the deck with nothing on my mind but the sound of my own breath. I thought of writing, of how nice it would be to sit in a little cafe, alone, with a laptop and my thoughts.
But for long stretches of our vacation, I did not think of work and I did not think of my children. It probably sounds awful to say so, but it was important. It was me remembering who I am apart from who I have become to these four little ones in my life.
I’m writing this, because for someone whose heart aches at the memory of her son’s first trip on the school bus, who snaps pictures of her bedheaded toddlers as though she can somehow freeze time and keep them small forever – this is big news. I am going to be okay. Better than okay.
Of course, this isn’t to say that I’m rushing anything along. Evaline’s first birthday is fast approaching and I am left again marveling at how quickly these moments, these years, pass. I will continue to revel in every hug, take pride in every accomplishment and cry like a sap over every first that slips past me on the timeline of their childhoods.
This is just to say, time, I do not fear you. I have seen the smallest glimpse from the shores of the other side of Mommyland and I have returned not with anticipation to get there sooner, but with quiet acceptance and peace.
*And this post about the joys to come in a post small child world has nothing to do with the toilet paper massacre that I just had to clean in the wake of my two year old’s trip to the potty or the crunch of Ritz crackers under my sneakers. Or maybe it does. Just a little.