Motherhood: the days are long, but the years are short.
I think about that quote so often when it’s 3:30 pm and I’m faced with an evening of homework, dinner, baths, and bedtime and a husband who travels. It helps me appreciate the little moments and know that this, too, shall pass. Quickly.
I try very hard to live in the moment – I hate dwelling on the past because it either makes me sad that my older kids aren’t babies anymore or it makes me feel way too old. Plus, I am a realist – my days are not always blissful – I’ve got four young kids who are often nagging or needing me, and I don’t want to look back on these years wishing for them and forgetting just how hard they were (plus no one can tell me the newborn phase is easy. It just isn’t).
But there are some moments in motherhood that will just plain take your breath away.
Like when your first child is born. Or you see your toddler sleeping in his big boy bed. Or you wave goodbye to your baby as she boards the school bus for kindergarten.
I had one of those moments over the weekend when my daughter made her First Communion. For those who aren’t Catholic, I know the whole First Communion thing is confusing and a little weird (trust me, my husband isn’t Catholic and he didn’t get the gist of what we were doing until it was actually happening during the ceremony). Just toss the religion piece of it aside and think of it is as a rite of passage –we all have those.
Traditionally for a First Communion, the girls wear white dresses. Some wear veils, wreaths, or big white bows. So let me paint the picture for you:
I saw my almost-eight-year-old daughter walking down the aisle.
In a white dress.
In the church where I got married.
(And just as a coincidence, the photographer just happened to be our wedding photographer – weird, huh?)
She was so excited and proud and just so beautiful to us. But man, that day came up quickly. It always seemed so far away in my head. But all of a sudden, there we were – right there in the moment.
As she processed down the aisle and went up to sing with her friends (at the same altar where we said our vows), all I could think about was what she’d look like on her wedding day. Who would she marry? Who will her friends be? What kind of person will she be? My gosh, how old will I be??
My mom and mother-in-law were teary and telling each other they both hoped they would see her wedding day.
It was such a big day to her – a huge deal to all of her friends, too. We celebrated by getting pedicures (which I am sure she’ll be doing with her bridesmaids for her wedding, not her old mama). Then we downloaded some rockin’ tunes on to her iTouch (can’t get that “TTYLXOX” out of my head!) and stayed up late cuddling and watching HGTV together (which I hope she isn’t doing on her wedding night). We’ve got the pictures, videos, and memories of what we looked like and how we sounded on that day. Hopefully I’ll get the pictures printed and in to the album at some point this year.
Even after such a big moment and such an important rite of passage for her, she’s still the same girl. I don’t know why that’s so surprising to me. The big moment is gone, and life goes on. Just like other moments will come and go – her last day of 2nd grade, her first break up, her high school graduation, her first night in the dorm in college, and her wedding day. I cope with the passage of time by remembering that on the inside she’s still my baby girl.
As mothers we’re so lucky to share in so many moments in our kids’ lives – and I think savoring the highs gets us through the lows.
Hope you have some take-your-breath-away moments this week as we get closer to Mother’s Day – and try to soak them up because life moves on way too fast. However, if you’re having a day with the kids you’d rather forget, know that this, too, shall pass and yep, life will march on. Quickly.