In 2013, when I was in the throes of parenting a four- and two-year-old, I wrote a blog post about what I really wanted for Mother’s Day. Through the years, I assumed that as my children grew older, and the days grew shorter, and the end of childhood was in sight- my Mother’s Day ‘wants’ would change. The trendy thing to want is a day alone, in a hotel room, with blackout curtains, and a bottle of wine. When the pandemic was still a thing, I will admit I longed for a night alone after days and weeks of forced distant learning (I refuse to call it homeschool- that is an insult to homeschool parents). But even after an epic argument with my almost 14-year-old daughter and another disagreement on the importance of bathing with my 11 year old son, I can undoubtedly tell you I would still wish for the same thing I did almost 10 years ago. And what is the single thing I wished for all those years ago?
I want to freeze time.
Freezing time is slightly different with toddlers and teenagers. When they were small, I wanted to remember their sweet, squeaky voices and the way they mispronounced words. As teens and tweens, I want to remember their corny jokes and crazy self-created hairstyles. I blinked and my short little tribe was the same size as me (and taller). My once very dependent babies no longer needed me to tuck them in for naps or tie their shoes. They need me to listen about their crush and to endless stats about their favorite football team. Preschool muffins with mom have been replaced with middle school end of the year trip meetings. As much as my ovaries long for a small, sweet-smelling baby, I am thoroughly enjoy having someone to share clothes with. And, I absolutely adore exploring different (spicy) cuisines with my son,- the mini food critic.
I am here to assure you that whatever phase of motherhood you’re in, you will always long for the one before. But take heart- it gets slightly easier to watch your babies grow up. I think that’s a gift from God- that our memories fade slowly so it doesn’t feel like our toddler is starting 8th grade and our baby boy is putting on football pads.
I can confidently say that I was spot-on 10 years ago with my frozen time idea. But, after a decade with these little people of mine, I am very happy to walk hand-in-hand with them on their journey to adulthood. So know that it is OK to mourn those toddlers- but remember how much you hated Calliou. Diapers are expensive and so is baby formula. You never slept enough and you could never made a complete pair of baby socks- you were always losing one.
Time stops for no one, especially mothers of teenagers just starting to fly. Enjoy your Mother’s Day with your not-so-small babies, because one day all of this will just be a sweet memory.