"They grow up so fast."
As a young mother I heard this over and over again--from friends, family, even strangers. I never doubted the concept (just looking at my toddler as each new baby was born was proof enough), but it's time, of course, that really brings the lesson home.
Having spread-out children (14 years from oldest to youngest) also helps make the truth obvious. Watching the toddler take her first steps while the teen is driving a car can seem surreal if one takes the time to think about it. But I don't usually pause to reflect. I tend to get caught up in the logistics, the busy-ness of day-to-day.
When Lauren went off to college, I posted a little tribute here. Gathering the photos was fun--seeeing my fuzzy headed baby transforming into a beautiful young woman. Lauren's back for the summer, and, of course, our relationship is different (I'd like to think better).
So I've been learning anew this year that time with my children is fleeting, but only recently articulated it. In fact, I wrote it down almost without thinking in Thursday's "Small Successes", but have been pondering ever since: one reason I made the effort to cook with David late that night was that I thought to myself that in the blink of an eye he'll be gone, too, and I'll regret then not spending a little more time now.
I want this perspective to inform the parenting I've got left, want to make sure I spend time on what really matters. My youngest is 4, so there are many years ahead, but the time does pass quickly and it's easy to get distracted. And of course my bigger kids will be gone much sooner than Becca.
Epilogue: Rebecca was playing mouse the other day, and wanted a tail. I found the perfect ball of creamy, fuzzy, thick yarn to cut and tape to her shorts. She thought it was great, but I remembered something: that yarn came from a Josephina loom of Lauren's that I had never used with her. I figure there was at least a two year window of interest, but somehow I didn't make the effort to set up the project with her.
Part of my seeing what I want to be involves understanding where I've fallen short. I'm not beating myself up over the loom, but the memory is part of this wake-up call or refinement of perspective. It's never to late to reasses and reprioritize, right?