In Target, walking past the baby aisles, I can't help but look longingly at the teeny tiny clothes. It has been so long since I've been down those aisles, so long since I've planned for and prepared for a new little bundle. The tiny socks, the little onesies, the fuzzy pajamas, the softest, sweetest baby blankets, they all conjure up such tender memories for me.
I am wistful.
I remember all the sleepless nights, and carrying the ridiculously heavy and awkward baby car seat around everywhere, and cleaning up the explosive poohs that couldn't be contained by a mere diaper. I remember the exhaustion. The worry. I remember that it is not all fun and games. But I'd do it all again to feel that sweet baby breath on my neck as my little one sleeps on my chest. To feel that tiny little body in my arms. Oh heaven. Oh bliss.
And now my youngest is beginning first grade in a couple of weeks. My oldest is going into 7th grade. SEVENTH GRADE. His next birthday will bring about his teenage years. My family is growing up far too quickly. I don't know how to slow it down.
Yes, I miss my babies. But I know this is a sweet time too. I am enjoying this time with my kids as much as I enjoyed the time I had with them as babies. And I don't want to look lovingly and wistfully back on this time too quickly either. I want to savor it. I want to bask in it. I want to soak it up as much as I can.
One day soon, I will remember how it was not all fun and games. I'll remember having to nag them to do their homework, clean up their clothes/toys/messes. I'll recall how they would fight and whine and drive me crazy. I'll think of all the times I was at my wits end. And yet I know, for certain, that as I look back I'd give anything to do it all again to have them back in this very moment in time, fighting over who gets to snuggle with me as we watch a movie together. Seeing them come down the stairs in the morning, one by one, sleep still in their eyes as they wrap their arms around me for my morning hug. Sitting around the dinner table together talking about the mundane details of our day. Family trips, and family talks, and family walks, and family fun.
The evenings bring a tinge of fall. There is a distinct smell in the air that signals summer is coming to an end. After rushing through another early dinner and hustling everyone out the door I settle into my folding chair on the sidelines and watch my boys' football practices as the golden sunlight lays itself out across the field in warm sheets. Sounds of helmets and pads jostling, coaches yelling, teammates counting out drills, and kids playing at the nearby park fill my head. Grace and Ben come running over from the park, complaining of boredom. "Not a moment's peace!" I think to myself and sigh. I glance over at my two bored babies into Ben's blueberry blue eyes and Grace's toothless grin and I remind myself, for maybe the millionth time, that someday I am going to miss this crazy, hectic, golden life.