I often think about the future and say to myself, “Someday..when the kids are older…” It’s usually followed by something to the effect of, “I won’t be cleaning up messes on the floor (whether it be toys, milk, pee, etc.).
Someday, I won’t have to buy diapers or wipes anymore.
We won’t need carseats.
I won’t be breaking up an argument and trying to figure out who hurt who.
I won’t be applying sunscreen on them, or making sure they have their floaties on to swim.
I won’t be asking them what color they were on at school today and walking through the school doors, and embracing them with a “Hi! I missed you!”
I won’t be biting my tongue to not lose my patience with the little one who has no concept of time.
I think about the future a lot, and sometimes I wish I didn’t because for every second that I think about the future, whether it be excitement, or worry, it takes away from a second that I had to truly live in the very present with my kids. Before I was pregnant, I would wonder what it’s like to be pregnant. Will I get pregnant? Does it hurt to be pregnant? Labor? What kind of mom will I be?
Once I got pregnant, I wondered, How is this going to work? What is it going to be like when it’s not just the two of us (husband and I) anymore? What if something goes wrong? Who will my baby look like?
I guess, in life, for me at least, the questions in my head about the future never stop. But I had an epiphany tonight as I stared around at the large Duplo blocks strewn all over the room, the water colors on the table, and the other various toys that have been moved one hundred times during the course of a day, but never seemed to make it back to its original place. Someday, my thoughts about the future will be replaced with statements about their childhood and remembering what once was. Someday when my kids are grown and gone, I’ll think to myself, “I remember when the kids were little…”
Someday, I’ll forget what it’s like to have 3 carseats in the backseat and do head counts 100x a day.
Someday I’ll treasure little handprints all over everything (although I secretly do now).
Someday I won’t remember how much diapers cost when we bought them.
I’ll miss combing through my daughters perfect curls.
I’ll miss the love notes my oldest boy and I write back and forth to each other.
Someday I’ll watch strangers interact with their children in the store, and my mind will go to a place when I was in there shoes, taking kids to the store and all the adventures that entails.
Writing this is painful because it’s something I don’t want to think about. As hard as it is right now, it’s as easy as it’s ever going to be. Having pure, raw moments with my kids is what I strive for every second of every day. I’m not always good at it, and more times than not I’m horrible at it. I might feel like a failure 70% of the time, but when I look at their sweet faces I know I’ve had to have done something right. But I’ve made a promise to myself to start living in the moment more with my kids, family and those I care about in my life.
My Promise to myself for me and for them:
When my littles ask me if I want to color with them when I’m frantically making dinner, I will say ‘yes’ and not ‘in a little bit’. Even if it’s for 2 minutes I can color and interact with them.
When they tell me to “Come here” to look at a lego creation and I think I’m busy, I will go and see it.
When they ask if they can help me bake and I’m in a hurry, I will say yes more often.
When my kids ask me to play dress up, read a Pokemon book, paint, whatever it it, even if I’m not in the mood, I will say yes.
Those are the moments when they engage with me. When they know that I am interested in what they are doing and know that I want to be a part of it. Where they know that they are important to me. For every time I say ‘no’ to having a potential moment with them is another moment passed that would have been special. It’s one more regret that I will have for not participating, being present and bonding with these quickly growing loves of mine.
This is my promise. For they will only be little for a short time, but they will be mine and ours forever, and one day when they’re grown and gone, I want to be able to say, I was present in their little childhoods. I want the regrets of motherhood to be few and far between. I don’t want to look back and know that I should have been there more. It might make the transition of them growing up a little less bitter and a lot more sweet.