I keep hearing of friends getting pregnant for the first time.
Watching newlyweds eat cake and celebrate their first anniversary.
Seeing new moms sigh in the dairy aisle because all the little people are screaming her name.
Oh wait, that was me last week.
Don’t worry, I’m not going all “cherish these years” or “it goes by so fast” or “the days are long but the years are short” on you. What I have to say, I think, is much more important.
It’s actually the opposite of all that. Ready?
Hey moms, quit asking to freeze time. Quit mourning the loss of the baby smell. Stop saying you wish you could go back.
Instead, I want you to do one thing. Lean into the crazy. Like full throttle – bring me all the end of year school emails, poopy diapers, teenagers studying driver’s ed, tantrums in the grocery store, kids puking – kind of crazy.
I know, now you’re thinking I’ve lost it. But, I haven’t really. Last August, I would’ve told you what a difficult time I was having watching my sixth baby grow up. I would’ve admitted, probably with a chocolate and beer bribe, that I was struggling with letting my kids go. And then I saw two kids, two kids whom I adored and have amazing moms, jump from this life to heaven way, way, way too soon for my liking.
And I stopped wishing to freeze time. I started to be oh-so-grateful for every milestone my kids were reaching. My eyes were opened to the gift of the present, not the yesterday.
The eye rolls.
The slamming doors.
The screaming fits.
The homework hell. Okay, maybe not that one.
The first steps.
The funny jokes that made no sense.
The first words.
The crazy things kids say.
The feelings they hold close.
And everything in between.
Because in reality, what we all want is to grow old and watch the people around us thrive and love and grow old, too. We want to be surrounded by deep, tangible, awesome love.
Yes, do I feel like we’re in the HOV high school lane careening into the last lap of raising our oldest? You’re damn right I do. And while the heart palpitations start to emerge, I am so grateful for this season of life. This heightened awareness that the life we are living is good. Real good. And, wishing to go back, to go back to who I once was, is no longer something I daydream about.
I remember fun-loving, perfect parent Kathryn in her 20s. She’s a real hoot now. I remember the crazy things she used to do to get her kids to nap or how she used to give the babysitter a full page of notes when heading out for a few hours. My mama heart has not forgotten the sweetness of early motherhood, of nursing my babies or of extreme sleep deprivation. But now that heart isn’t quite as fragile as it once was, for it’s tasted suffering and pain, sadness and grief, joy and elation, pride and gratitude. It knows the true price of love: selflessness.
So, as we enter Gianna’s second year in a few days, I’m feeling at peace. Knowing that we’re right where God wants us to be. With grateful hearts, we can’t wait to exclaim “happy birthday” and cherish whatever comes next.