Motherhood. The days are long, but the years are short. I can still remember those first days with my newborn daughter, those exhausting, uncertain, amazing, wonderful, tear-filled first days of learning to be a mom. They were days filled with tiny baby clothes, burp cloths, endless snuggles, sleepless nights, and so much love. They were hard and some days seemed to last forever. And then a day ended and suddenly my baby was turning one, and walking, and running, and obsessed with Tinker Bell, and carrying her favorite blanket with her everywhere. Those days were long as I tried to figure out sleep schedules, plan activities, and hug her through the pain of teething and growing. And then another long day ended.
And suddenly there was a second new baby in our home. And I watched my daughter turn into a big sister overnight who loved to hug and kiss on her brother. A baby brother who cried a lot but who had the chubbiest cheeks perfect for kissing. And the days seemed even longer as I tried to figure out my new normal with a newborn and toddler. And our days were filled with songs, and books, walks to the park, more sleepless nights, messes and spilled milk, lots of hugs and kisses. They were days that sometimes passed in a fog and I wondered if I was a good enough mother for you. But your little arms around my neck always reassured me that you loved me despite my flaws and appreciated my sometimes flailing efforts. And before I knew it another long day had ended.
And suddenly my newborn isn’t so little anymore, and I have two toddlers who never hold still. One who loves to run to preschool with her ladybug backpack bouncing on her back, so excited to see her friends. Who loves everything pink and sparkly, and wants to do everything “by myself.” Who is smart, and strong, and adventurous. And a little boy who jumps for joy anytime he sees a train, who climbs on furniture and bounces off the walls. A boy who loves puzzles and books, and laughs with his whole body. Who cheeks are still chubby and perfect for kissing, and who loves his mama more than anything.
But before I know it, another one of these long days will have ended and they will be going to kindergarten, high school, driving. They won’t want to hold my hand in public, and would rather spend time with their friends. They won’t need me to get them cups of milk anymore, and comb their tangled hair. They won’t ask for bedtime stories, or just one more song, or for me to lay by their bed until they fall asleep. They’ll be graduating, moving away to start lives of their own, getting married, beginning their families. And I’ll look back on those days that seemed so long, and wonder how could the years be so impossibly short.
And I wonder what about these long days will I be able to remember? Will I always remember how their favorite way to start the day is with a cup of milk and cuddles on the couch? Will I remember how much fun a simple trip to the park is, and how exciting it is for a two-year old to feed the ducks? Will I remember how hard we laughed when we all realized that our boy had been wearing his pants backwards for most of the afternoon? Or will I remember how good it felt to hold your tiny, warm bodies in my arms? Or will these be things that I forget as the years fly by?
So today, I decided to do something to help me always remember these long days. I brought my camera with me from beginning to end and captured every moment of our day together. And as I look back on these pictures I can already feel time slipping by. And it makes me wish that these long long days, could somehow slow down. And last just a little bit longer. This is what Motherood is.