I found myself wishing for “the old days” recently, while unwrapping the plates and decorations for my son’s 10th birthday party. It was a small, simple party with very little effort on my part. I bought a few things at the dollar store to make it look festive and ordered a cookie cake. There was a bit of effort while picking up said cookie cake, however, since the 4 year old screamed out the door that she just wanted “ONE COOKIE, MAMA!!” at the top of her lungs as we exited.
So yes, the “old days”…
The days when my babies were ACTUALLY babies. I was kinda missin’ on those.
I thought about how fast the baby days of K’s went by. I closed my eyes and tried to remember her still tiny and laying in my arms. The first thing that came to mind were her toes and little feet. I thought about how it isn’t fair that those tiny toes last such a short time. Back then I dreamed of them getting bigger so that I could paint them and even someday we could go get pedicures together. But now, I kinda wish I could touch and hold them when they were little bitty again. Do you know that feeling, as a mother? Do you ever wish you could go back?
I also wish I could go back for another reason. Because I think I wasted some of that time. I am ashamed to say it but it’s true.
Anyway, yeah… I putzed a lot of that time away on the internet and not enough time just sitting STILL, just being with my baby. Of course we had plenty of time together but I feel like it wasn’t enough quality time. I could blame it on the fact that we had just moved to Louisiana a few months before and my then friends were either hundreds of miles away (I also spent some time on the phone!) or in my computer. I could blame it on the fact that three little kids is tough for a while, especially with an infant and that the distractions were a good thing from other things that could have been going on in my head. I mean sure, we can rationalize the hell out of anything, right?
But even if I do that, I still cannot look back on her baby days without a bit of regret. I just can’t. I took a lot of photos of her, I know that. But the snapshots in my head are not as clear as I wish they could be. Much of that time is a blur. I try to convince myself that more precious minutes were spent with her than I think. I recall reminding myself back then that the baby days were short and fleeting – I knew it already! And that even in the chaos I would sort of miss it someday – or at least think fondly back on those days, wishing for parts of them back (let’s face it, not every single bit of them was wonderful).
I think that will always be the way with motherhood though. When we have what we’ve always wanted, sometimes we think we were crazy for ever wanting it. And then, when it is passed we wonder how it went so fast.
The next morning after the birthday party I woke up with a little person in my bed. G still climbs into bed with us most nights but I usually don’t know it until I wake up. His little face was right next to mine, his eyes still closed, still breathing the slow, easy breaths of sleep. I looked at him for a long time. I soaked it up as best I could and pictured his baby face, with that same button nose that he has had since birth and remembered his fuzzy hair. I smiled at his so-cute dimples that he was born with too.
I realized in that moment that I had not been giving myself enough credit. I DO remember what they looked like and smelled like and felt like and smiled like and my wistfulness was probably just getting the better of me. The mothering part of my heart that would love to have some of those baby days back just to be able to take them in again, was crying out. Those scents and visions like a drug that I can no longer have; but what a wonderful addiction it was.
Instead now, I drink from the cup of memories as I go through those photos I took. And I celebrate joyfully as yet another birthday rolls around and I thank God for every day I have to be with these beautiful human beings their dad and I created.
Of course I know I cannot stop time but sometimes I wish I could go back… just for a bit.