The other night I cried while brushing my teeth — I just couldn’t help it.
As is my nightly ritual, I peeked in on my sons just before bed. As I peered over at the youngest’s sleeping face, my brain registered disbelief.
“He looked twelve,” I whined, horrified, to my husband through toothpaste and tears. That baby of mine is no longer a baby.
When Bronson was eleven months, I couldn’t stand that he wouldn’t get a move on already. He wasn’t crawling or walking, and he whined at an irritating decibel all day long. I joined in and whined about it constantly too. A few weeks beyond that, he finally moved his own ass. Literally. He did this funny scooting thing on his bum. And a few months later, he walked. And a few days later, he ran.
I was delighted when Oli started communicating rather early. It seemed so helpful, so practical that he would state things clearly and let me know what he needed. It was a few words. Then sentences. Then constant chatter between him and his brother.
I wanted them to grow up and into independence. I wanted them to become their own people and wipe their own buts. I wanted them to sleep through the night, and quite simply, I wanted them to need me less.
These were often my cries of the early years.
Every earthly mom has been told more times than she can count that she should savor these days because they go quick. And every mom with young kids has wanted to flip that person the bird and throw Sofie the Giraffe at their head. Survival is the name of the game. You don’t savor in survival.
And yet, those early years are gone, and I’m finding I actually do want to slow it all down.
Sometimes I find myself sad over what has gone by, and sometimes, I find myself sad about how much time I currently spend breaking up arguments and fetching more snacks. There’s still plenty to whine about — my lament is not gone, just changed. There’s a new undertone to it. I’m not just frustrated and dismayed. I’m sad over the times that really have left, the ways the tides have shifted and the kids are growing. I’m sad that my sons don’t want to hold my hand. I’m sad that they wiggle free after a few seconds of cuddle. I’m sad that they look way too old and are quickly learning the art of sarcasm and sass.
There’s no way to really savor the early years for all they are. Strong coffee is the only way to survive, but as I move into new territory in this continuum of motherhood, I realize that taking moments to lament what has changed may just help me savor a little more of the boys’ current stages.