Yesterday, I took dinner to two of my friends who recently had babies...
I'd like to say that I intentionally bring food several weeks (sometimes months) post-birth because that's truly the time family and friends have gone on their way and moms really are deep "in the newborn trenches"...but maybe the reality might be more like I just haven't gotten around to it and feel guilty for taking so long to help out. However it may be, I think I'll stick with that first reason. :)
As I drove away from my friend's house yesterday (she just had her fourth), tears stung my eyes a bit as I sat in my suburban, my two youngest giggling about something in the backseat on our way to pick up my other two kids....I had the kind of flashback I've occasionally had before, but in a much more longing way...because you see, when I went into her house and saw my friend with her sweet new baby and her three other very young children, I saw myself.
A short three and a half years ago that was me...navigating life with a newborn while surrounded by three other tiny people (Tyler Bree wasn't quite in kinder yet at the time). It was a simpler time, yet extremely stressful on a day-to-day basis. I now have room to breath in terms of my child rearing (because of their ages) and our day-to-day life has become easier, but I couldn't help but feel a little envious of my friend yesterday. Such innocence surrounding her in those four little souls and I could see the joy in her eyes, as she knew how preciously special this time is for their family. I also know she's aware how this phase is so fleeting. How easy it is to forget. I wondered, "Is it because we've become too busy?"
Driving away, I called Blake and shared my wistfulness for that time in our lives...that time that seems like only yesterday. I asked him how these past years have flown by so fast...how is it even possible?!? Where did they go?!? (He didn't have any answers by the way.) After we hung up, I thought some more about how quickly this season of parenting passes by, and I resolved to improve some areas of my life, which hopefully will allow me to both better live in the moment with our children and record my memories in a more meaningful way.
1. Slowing down and letting things go in order to better use my time by playing sword fight with Bennett or listening to Riley explain her newest playground game or helping Tyler Bree to better understand a scripture or being the "mom" in one of Blakely's made-up scenarios. I kind of get annoyed with the phrase "live in the moment", so I'm going to re-coin it "leave out what doesn't matter." Dinner can wait to be cooked, the house can be messy for a few days longer, social media isn't enriching my life so much that it's urgent....you get the idea. Quality time listening, playing, and filing away these memories for years to come, so hopefully the sting isn't so harsh when down the road I ask myself, "How did they become teenagers? Where did the time go?"
2. Journaling. I need to do much better about daily journaling. Had I been more consistent the past several years, I may have been afforded the luxury of reading some of my thoughts and feelings during my time as a mother of little bitties. Yes, I can be nostalgic and recall the general feel of that time, but truthfully, I don't think I can tell you many specifics. That first year with four was a complete blur...one I hardly remember. Journaling can/will help not only with my own memory preservation, but for my kids and grandkids, as well. I want them to look back on it someday when they're dealing with their own mothering struggles and feel they're not alone. Shooting video, taking pictures, blogging, writing are all ways I hope to journal our life better....because our memories can only take us so far.
Time marches on, our kids inevitably get older (at astronomical speed), and life will most assuredly get busier...but I want to be able to look back on these days and say that I tried my best to "leave out what doesn't matter." I have a long way to go, as there are countless ways I can improve in this area, but today I'm remembering how my heart felt yesterday seeing myself in my friend's eyes and trying to keep that with me as long as possible....