Today I registered my second born for kindergarten. My mind refuses to process the passing of time for all the complexities and emotions it strings along. But milestones such as this one trigger massive alarms, jolts equivalent to sirens and flashing lights, alerting me to the speed in which my babies are growing. And in my mind, a reel plays of their adolescent and then adult selves in their independence, saying goodbye, moving on. Crazy, I know, but somehow very real. Life with littles is so full and all-consuming that it does in fact feel exactly the way others describe, that one day you wake up and that scary flash-forward is reality, is the present. I need to catch up…I need to catch IT! My life, it’s always running faster than me.
The days are long but the years are short, the irony is profound and almost doubly in that the moments can be so tremendous and heavy that it is nearly impossible to see beyond them as they happen. Like how a battle may ensue (and by may I mean does) over wearing jeans. Jeans which you have to scrunch and roll so that little wobbly legs can slowly and reluctantly step into them. A daily battle which is dialogued with criticism and tears and occasionally a full blown toddlerhood breakdown because they’re JEANS and not a dress. And then all of a sudden those legs are stronger and the dressing moments are shorter until one day those legs are dressed without you. And I feel this pride and longing contradicting each other in a bittersweet ensemble of what I now know, is time passing.
Thankfully when I get a moment to collect them, most of my thoughts and memories are safe and sound, waiting for me to browse through them like familiar favorite songs. Each one, a story of a day. A recollection of who did what fantastical new thing, who was an explosion of all things adorable, or what horrifying behavior was displayed. The gift of reflection is one that we get to enjoy later in life as well, often with awe and admiration for our present self and all that we are able to achieve and juggle and sacrifice. I have not only heard seasoned parents exclaim, but have now myself thought back to earlier times questioning out loud, How the hell did we manage/get through/survive/ that ? Usually there is no great epiphany other than, we just did. Like many things in life you somehow muddle through and succeed to the other side, never really knowing how. I think that’s parenting. Some days are less scathing than others, and those are the days we feel winning. And so, I reflect without condemnation about our recent and not so recent past events which I was unable to document in a timely fashion because I was busy living life, undocumented.
Reflecting back to three years ago, when we first shared that we were having a third baby. Other than the unanimous congratulatory wishes there were some face scrunchers, “Really? another one?” Quickly followed by some sweepings of “No no no, that’s great, kids are sooooo great, but it’s just that? It’s just so much work and another one?” But it didn’t phase me, us, we felt confident in our expansion, as we surely had enough love, cereal, and toys. And while the abundance of these is significant, along with some other helpful resources, looking back, for me it always comes back to time. If there were a few more hours or a few more days, surely things would work better. But as it turns out, there is no amount of time that’s sufficient when it comes to life with kids. And that’s regardless of the number of kids (I believe). There’s just not enough time to teach them, help them, love them, comfort them. Even when the days are long and hard, it’s just not an appropriate measurement when paired with an immeasurable abstraction such as love. And while I personally feel that “balance” is the name of a unicorn not present in my life, I do think we are able to prioritize. That’s a real thing. That’s become a goal and a focus, to prioritize with the winningest outcome in mind. I remind myself that not all things can be achieved all days. As if that’s not obvious, but seriously, sometimes the mommy brain just doesn’t let you stop. So I’ve not blogged in a while but the good news is we’ve been living. And my darlings are thriving even though some of my houseplants have died. Priorities.