The Only Thing I Need to Remember When These Days of Mothering Feel Long.

Posted on Posted in Romance and Parenthood.

The greatest truth of motherhood:

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The bus stops across the street to let our neighbor’s kids off, and it’s late enough that I’m already thinking about what we’ll have for dinner. Next year, my daughter will be on that bus.

Transitioning a child to full-day school is something that I haven’t done yet. Instead, I lie on the cusp—seeing this huge shift waiting ahead for us, and coming at vicious speed. (I imagine myself spread across train tracks in an old-timey movie.)

The difference is that, in real life, there are no villains. None. My daughter will, almost assuredly, love school. (She already shows signs of readiness this year, like how she’s often bored at home with me and her little sister during our afternoons.)

I still don’t want to let her go.

I try to remain present in this limited time that I share with her. I remind myself of logical things, like that it’s not even March. Regardless, I’m transported back to those days with her as a baby, when she was my only child.

She makes these faces sometimes, and they look exactly the same as when she was tinier. I see—almost over-top of her face as in a double image—her baby-self, making the same shape with her mouth, or the look in her eye catches me by surprise, and—for a moment!—it could be a few years ago, when she was newer to this Earth.

I’m nearly positive that I’ll have a similar experience with her baby sister. I can’t help looking at my youngest differently than I did my oldest when she was that age, because now I know better. I know to study a few of her expressions, and to chisel them onto my heart, and to pause and just take in her babyhood before it’s over.

I’m not a crier, and I’ve cried or teared up multiple times in these last two days, thinking of my daughter going to kindergarten. I remember, too, a yoga-studio friend sitting on her mat next to mine in class three years ago, and she was crying in the dimly lit light because it was her youngest’s first day of kindergarten. I felt sympathy for her, but that ache felt far off for me. (How foolish.)

One day, I’ll be a mother, like these sweet ones I talk to now, that tell me how they remember, and that they understand the emotions, and that it will be okay.

Will it?

I can never go backwards, and I don’t want to. I love watching my children grow, but it’s just that I observe my own parents’ faces each week when they visit, and I know that one day I will relate to their awareness that life doesn’t last for forever, that these years with our brand-new, little families are never long enough, and that taking this time to pause and appreciate giggles, and all of the “firsts” is more important than anything else in the world.

I know that this ache will soften. Probably similar to the start of this pre-school year, when I would wave to her getting on the bus, with a fake, happy grin, and then sob as soon as she couldn’t see me. Those tears would fall as I walked up the sidewalk to our house. Somewhere, however, in a few months, that smile for her became genuine—and I became okay.

I will be okay. But I do need to pause more, among these notorious little-kid difficulties of toileting, and the tiresomeness of getting kids in and out of booster seats, and car seats, and juggling texting someone back with the baby simultaneously whining to be held, or my oldest handing me a book to read for the three-millionth time that hour.

I need to find the romance of these sometimes long days, because there’s never been a greater truth of being a mother than that these years are short.

4 thoughts on “The Only Thing I Need to Remember When These Days of Mothering Feel Long.

  1. I’m not a crier, either, but I fought back tears as I read this beautiful post. Yes, that is the great truth. And just as I was painfully aware of it as I loaded my little twin kiddos on the bus for kindergarten not all that long ago, I’m staring down that truth again as I help them schedule classes (already!) to start high school in the fall. High school! I don’t know how we got here so fast. Your post is a perfect reminder to try, even though sometimes it is very, very hard, to live in the moment … because the moment will be gone all too soon.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and then comment, Shelley. Staying present during these days is sometimes hard, but it’s so important. xoxo

  2. Wow! My daughter got me hooked on you. She is a young mother, and I am the grandmother. Our grandloves are 7 and 3&1/2 already…how can that be? Your thoughts are wonderful and I’m so glad other parents follow you. Don’t stop writing!! When my youngest went to Kindergarten (I AM a crier…BIG time…HSP AND introvert) I’d drop him off and watch him walk into school. After a while I noticed how many of the Mom’s in our cars would sit there and watch the school long after the kids were off the playground. Were they thinking the same thoughts I was? There goes my baby boy…how fast he has grown up. Did I do the right thing keeping him back a year until he was 6? (YES!!!!!!!) It was comforting to feel the mom’s around me. I remember it like it was yesterday. He and his wife of a year and a half just bought their first home. Again, thank you, Brittany…keep writing!!!!

    1. Jean, this means so much to me. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to know that you and your daughter can relate to my writing. This is exactly why I publish what I write—in the hopes of reaching out and connecting to others, so that we feel a sense of community through our experiences, however alone we sometimes feel as individuals. Thanks again for visiting, taking the time to read and then comment. xo

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