Thursday, September 9, 2010

'Tis But a Moment

I saw them sitting in Subway yesterday.

I had stopped in to pick up a sandwich for lunch, and when I saw them it was such a jolt that my heart nearly skipped a beat.

I don't know their names, but I do know what I saw: a glimpse of my yesterday.

Sitting at a table by the window was a young mom with three children: two tow-headed toddler boys, looking about 2 and 3 years old, and a baby girl in an infant seat on the table.

It was like seeing a snapshot of my life four years ago. Has it really been that long?

I used to be the mom who everyone smiled at with looks that were half-admiration and half-pity. "You sure have your hands full," I used to hear almost as often as I heard the theme song to "Go, Diego, Go!" With an infant, a one year-old, and a three year-old, there was never much chance of slipping under the radar when we went somewhere.

Now, my kids can order their own Subway sandwiches. They still fight about who sits where and who got more soda, but they know how to behave in a restaurant. I don't have to worry about what they're putting in their mouths or whether they're going to fall out of their chairs. (Of course they are.)

I'm not sure when I went from being a frazzled, inexperienced, young mom to being a frazzled, seasoned, not-as-young (can't say old) mom of older kids. No babies. No toddlers. Only one preschooler left.

A common conversation in our house goes something like this:

Child: Mom, I'm gonna miss the bus.
Me: Alright, hurry up and get out of here, but remember . . . do NOT grow while you are gone, okay?!

I admonish them not to grow while they are brushing their teeth or playing the wii or eating dinner. Thankfully, they still find this amusing, love when I threaten to punish them for growing. I am not unaware of the fact that soon they will roll their eyes and grimace at such childish notions.

I know that time moves relentlessly, and all the wishing in the world won't stop it. I know that just a moment ago I was that mom in Subway with the three tiny children who thought that I would never spend a day (heck, an hour!) alone again. I was she; and now I'm not.

Today I am a mom of three still relatively young children who can read and write and add but who still love climbing in my bed for a cuddle in the morning (or all hours of the night), having me on their team when we play a game, and being read to while snuggled on the sofa. I am a mom whose children still fight to sit next to her and light up over surprise one-on-one time with her.

Today I am that mom; tomorrow I will not be. The moment it happens will be indiscernible, but one day I will look at a mom with children who are 4, 6, and 7, and I will remember these days with a too-tight feeling in my chest and a longing to get today back.

Lord, help me to cherish where I am today. Help me to love my children at exactly the stage they're in because all too soon, it will be gone. Help me to remember that each day that passes with them is one that I will never get back again. Remind me that these children will never again be exactly the age they are today, and I help me to treasure it so that I don't look back and wonder when I lost it.

Thank you for these precious hearts of mine.


Keith & Angie said...

Becky - Thanks for your post. I have similar feelings all the time. My oldest just turned 9, and I shocked by the notion that 1/2 of his years living in our house are over. I also remind my kids often not to grow anymore. They hear it so often, that they all say the same things to Baby Vivian. I hope you and your family are doing well.


CDD in CA said...

Becky, thanks for sharing your thoughts. You have a wonderful heart my dear.

Megan said...

Your post totally choked me up. I have a toddler son (15 months) and one on the way. I work 45+ hours per week and sometimes it all just seems so overwhelming. I know I should sit back and enjoy the moment more often, when spending time with my son, and your post really put that into perspective. I know it won't be long until he's busy with his own activities, and/or he would rather hang out with his friends than me. Thank you for the such a sweet and tender message, and an important reminder. :)