This post is inspired by a close friend who is also a mother and bemoans her tendancy to not live so much in the moment with her child, but rather is drawn to the future, the next milestone, etc. Her wistful thoughts reverberated within my maternal heart because I am guilty of the same. When people ask me to compare S to K, there are only vauge impressions to recall, largely due to my failing to be mindful of the present and being preoccupied with the next meal, day, week, month (also due to trauma-induced amnesia as a 1st time mom).
This good and kind friend reminded me how fleeting are these moments with our children. And I am deeply eternally grateful for the reminder. There are days when I dread the task of having to go through the morning routine for the girls - S gets her morning bath, dressed, nursed + K gets dressed (meaning I have to chase her down) and fed breakfast (more chasing down). Then I grapple with the dilemna - how to keep K occupied while I put S down for her morning nap (does your infant fall asleep on her own? then you are living my fantasy.). The options include TV, sugary snacks, or allowing her to run aimlessly rampant - all these options strike daggers of guilt into my mommy heart. By the time I put S down for her nap, I'm ready for a break! But K has been waiting all morning to have mommy all to herself. And so I just fill up my coffee mug and push myself to spend quality time with her. What has happened is that I view each day as filled with a list of duties, that if not accomplished, make me an unfit mother. And when one merely goes through the motions of doing something just to do it, and not thoughtfully and with desire, the moments of the day are bereft of joy.
Naturally during these types of days I long for a day when K and S are both not so needy. But I also understand, with a heavy heart, that when this day finally arrives, I will merely find myself longing for the days with which God has graced me now. Ugh! Tragic!
My dearest Katherine and Sophie: The most I can do is give you countless hugs and kisses each day and may there always be spontaneous and uncontrollable laughing and dancing. Your childhood is like wisps of soft smoke - I cannot hold onto it. I can only do my best to blow it in the direction that I believe is best for you - toward God, compassion, independent thinking, appreciation of beauty and good food, etc. I imagine heaven is a place where mothers can relive their children's childhood and for the first time, live fully in each and every moment. I am so utterly humbled to be the mother of two such lovely girls. J's genes must be dominant in them because they are both so entirely clever and beautiful and sweet.
Truly the days are long but the years are short. So eloquently put by this fellow mommy: http://www.theyearsareshort.com/ (yes I cried big alligator tears after watching this). My only hope is to not do anything I do for my girls begrudingly (even with that 10th diaper change or cleaning up the 10th juice spill), but to see every day through their eyes - each day as full of wonder and adventure and to share their joy in every thing. I will have no regrets if I can say, at the end of it all, that at least once every day I paused upon looking at my daughters and said to myself, "this is what matters and this is what i want to remember for all time".