Rule #25: Let them be little.
The kids have each had their own balloons floating around the house for the past couple of weeks. Corey’s is red, and Brooke’s is, of course, pink. They’ve been driving me absolutely insane! I don’t see them while I’m carrying laundry, and I trip over them. The kids play fight with them, resulting in tears about 4 minutes into each round. I also just am a freak about things looking “put together” at the end of the day – no clutter, please! Basically, I’m ready to pop those damned balloons.
I’ve been at a crossroads these days, no doubt in part to the pandemic and all the extra time at home with two littles. Corey will be 5 soon, and Brooke just turned 2. To say that we’re kept very busy would be an understatement. We go to bed every night exhausted with still a ton of items to be checked off the to do list, and Lord knows there’s still laundry to be done. I find myself very guiltily wishing for easier days ahead. No more tooshies to wipe. No more “No, we don’t put that in our mouth”s. No more banged up baseboards and stains to get out of the rug.
And then I remember how quickly this season of our lives has already gone by. I know when I heard, “The days are long, but the years are short,” for the first time, I scoffed at it. And now, it’s my mantra. I breathe it in and out every day.
Pretty soon, I won’t be involved in the “Mommy-and-Me” gymnastics class; instead, I’ll be sitting on the sidelines waving and cheering.
There won’t be any early morning messes (in this case a bucket full of water beads) to clean up before the coffee is even made.
One day, he’ll be too big and too cool to want to watch his Astros in bed with Daddy.
I may not miss walking in on Brooke changing her lovies’ diapers. “Elmo poot, Mama.” Okay, that’s a lie. I will miss it.
Today, we had one of THOSE days at the grocery store. We couldn’t find the right colored car-turned-grocery-cart. This is a true travesty in the eyes of a 4 year old. Someone had to potty halfway through the trip (we were all the way on the other side of the store). I booked it through the store, unbuckled them both, got them into the family stall just in the nick of time. Our cart was so full (the car carts for kids just aren’t as big as the regular ones – ironic since kids eat a lot) that I had to carry 2 bags besides pushing the cart. Just as I pulled out of the cashier’s lane, our sliced watermelon fell out of the cart and went everywhere. No one offered to help, cool. Okay. Clean it up. Moving on, get it together. You’re a tough, strong, independent woman. As we get out of the store, a 6-pack of Cokes goes flying down the walkway. Luckily, a nice gentleman stopped and helped me collect everything. And, of course, it started to rain as we were walking to the truck. I got the kids loaded, groceries thrown in, and got back into the truck just in time to hear, “Mommy, turn on the music!” If that wasn’t enough to send me over the edge, on the way home, I asked Corey to help carry groceries in. “No.” “What? Bud, come on. Help Mama out.” “No, mom. I don’t want to do that. You do it.”
It’s those honest, raw moments when I miss the days when I could come-and-go as I pleased. I didn’t have to answer to anyone or check the calendar or worry about nap times or how many diapers we had left in the diaper bag.
And so, I find myself wishing the years to pass quickly so life could be… easier again. Now, those of you who are in more advanced stages of life are chuckling. Things get easier in some ways, but harder in others, yes? And even with the difficulty of grocery shopping aside, I never want to miss what’s in the present. Kenny Chesney has a great song called, “Here and Now,” and one of my favorite lines is:
“Why you think we call the present the present?
‘Cause there ain’t no better gift than
Here and now”
So, I’m going to do my best to enjoy the chaos while it lasts. Even when I’m cussing under my breath because I stepped on yet another Lego, I’m going to be grateful for this season.
Instead of dreading the mess that’s to come, I’m going to relish in the beauty that made it.
I will do my best to embrace that we will change Halloween costumes 3 times before deciding on the one we want. And even then, we’ll change 20 minutes before Trick-or-Treating. Who cares what he goes as? As long as he’s having a good time and making precious, oh-so-fleeting memories, that’s what it’s all about.
I will miss the days when I don’t get a request for a certain toy, “No, mom! That one!” from the backseat. Those little legs do grow fast, y’all.
I will let go of my need to have a “perfect” house. Let those baseball bases stay out. I will miss when those little feet aren’t pretending to be Altuve in the middle of my bedroom.
But most importantly, I won’t pop those damned balloons. I will let them float around, tripping me and driving me nuts. Because I know that one day, I’ll wish against wish they were right back in my way. Let them be little. Let them make messes. Let them be. And be so very grateful for every second.
My hope in writing this post is that you not metaphorically POP the BALLOON of the season you’re in. Every phase of life has its beauty. Enjoy it. Relish in it. And be grateful for the present. Because it is, truly, a present.