A couple weeks ago, my 3 month old daughter and myself were taking a casual stroll in our nearby Walmart. I noticed an older woman glancing our way in the same aisle. When we made eye contact, she tilted her head while shooting a sweet smile. The kind of grin that literally says, “aww how sweet!” without having to say a word.
I could tell she wanted to engage in conversation, but wasn’t sure if I was open to the idea as well. (I’ll blame my resting b**** face on that one.)
I wasn’t in any big hurry. There were no plans for the rest of the day so I was enjoying this time chit chatting with my daughter and slightly laughing aloud at her little coos.
I had a hunch that it might brighten this random stranger’s day if she were able to look at my little girl whom she admired from a short distance.
Upon approaching her, I bent down just a bit and held my daughter toward her for a better look.
She admired her and all the while, told me how beautiful she was. She asked the normal questions.
What is her name?
Is she your first?
After some time, she told me a couple stories of her own children- the messes they made and the milestones they reached. The ones who are now grown with a family of their own. The conversation ended as it always does when I stumble across an interaction such as this.
She looked at me like she really meant it and said, “Enjoy this time, it goes too fast.”
We part ways and her face wore an expression of soft, blissful remembrance. Memories of a time that doesn’t seem so far ago. A time when her kisses cured all pain and no monster could break through those strong mommy arms.
And then it hits me like a ton of bricks, this too soon will be me.
I will trade in my sticky floors for crisp vacuum lines on my carpet. And the loud commotion of life with little ones will start to fade, until one day, my home is silent.
The fingerprints on my walls will grow taller and taller and then, will vanish.
In the blink of an eye, my kids are grown and I’m left with only the memories of these good old days.
I’m not ready.
I don’t remember what life was like before I was needed every second of every day and, honestly, I find comforted in being wanted so much. What will I do when the day comes where I am no longer wanted as much as I am right now?
Yes, I still have time. My babies are still babies. But if it goes as fast as everyone says, how can I ever prepare myself?
To be clear, I don’t think this new era in my life will be a horrible thing. Not by any means.
I’m sure I’ll discover a newly found sense of freedom when I sleep until 10 on a Saturday and roll out of bed at my own pace and not someone else’s.
But I’m certain I will miss the pitter-patter of tiny toes before sunlight. And there’s no doubt I will long for those warm cuddles before bedtime.
On the days I’m drowning, I remember this woman’s insightful words. I do enjoy this time and I already know it goes all too fast.
When my children are grown, I hope a new mom with her little baby will stop if I smile at them in a store. I hope she lets me bask in the days she is living out now. And most importantly, I hope she truly hears my words, “Enjoy this time, it goes too fast.”