Kids. I had three in five years, two of them boys. I was dealing with colic and the terrible twos at the same time.
God how I miss that.
Today I made a sauce. My daughter is still away at school. The kid who turned me grey is living in Florida. My other son, the good one, worked all day and is now out with friends. He’s 25 so there’s no curfew, no waiting up, even if there is still some nagging.
Where I’d once be trying to cook while breaking up fights over game controllers, tv remotes, who is standing in front of the tv, and all of the other things that three kids fight over, today I made sauce and didn’t have one fight to break up, no, “Maaaaaa,” from the other room. No kid coming in to sneak a meatball out of a sauce that wasn’t ready.
I would have loved to have a kid coming in to sneak a meatball. I would have handed one over willingly.
It isn’t the first time that it hit me, but it still hit pretty hard. My kids are grown. They’re not underfoot driving me crazy, making me wish it was almost bedtime.
Instead they’re off doing all of the things I wanted them to be doing, and I wish I had more time.
I would give anything to be pleading with them to stop killing each other, wiping up a spilled juice box for the 57th time in an hour, or even to be yelling at my son to please learn how to pee in the toilet, even when he was 18.
It goes so fast. Like way too fast, and we don’t realize it because we’re so busy worrying about a bunch of stupid things that we probably shouldn’t be worried about, like if the house is a mess or they’re peeing in the toilet or all over the damn bathroom. Ok, so I don’t actually miss the pee part, just the mad pee-er.
My daughter lived in Germany last year. My little baby girl, who hated dance and could give her brothers as good as she got, sent me a text one day that she was in Italy. I laughed remembering waiting up for her and wondering how we went from her being at a party two blocks over to being a continent away and not always being sure which country she was in.
It goes so fast, like so freakin fast! Did I say that already?
We worry about stupid things as our kids grow up, things like if other parents would be horrified at how often we dropped the F bomb in frustration, or not even in frustration. We stress over how many times our kids peed in their pants while being potty trained as if they were going to be walking at graduation in a Pull-Up.
If I could go back, I’d let them pee wherever they wanted, and I’d probably drop the F bomb at a few parents I thought were idiots, well maybe a little more than I probably did. I’d worry less about the fruit snacks and cheerios that always seemed to be scattered across the living room.
I would have enjoyed it more. I mean I enjoyed it, but all that nonsense sometimes took away from the moments, the important moments.
I remember trying to remember all of the moments, as they happened, the way it felt when my son put his little hand in mine, the way my other son knew to throw his arms around me when he did something bad, that my daughter always seemed to know who she was, even at 5. I spent a lot of time freezing moments in my brain knowing there was going to be a time I’d want to relive them.
That time is now. I made a sauce today and instead of breaking up fights or pleading with them to let the meatballs cook, they are all grown and doing their own thing. I’m proud of who they are and what they are doing.
Still I’d give anything to be screaming at them to please stop killing one another. I’d give anything to go check on them because they are being too quiet and find them laughing together, because, at the end of the day, they loved as hard as they fought.
So if you’re breaking up fights, pulling your hair out, or wondering how long before you can pour a glass of wine, or two, or even three, take a moment and freeze it, look at those faces, those little hands, and cherish the moment. One day you’ll miss it. Pour that glass of wine too. It will definitely help.
This goes for parents of teenagers too, especially parents of teenagers. I’m pretty sure tequila is a better option than wine, but that’s another conversation.
Seriously though, while you’re wishing for nap time or bedtime to come so that you can have a little freedom, some peace, or even a moment to breathe, know that the day will come that you will be sitting there doing whatever you feel like doing, and its really really awesome, but you’ll still miss those other days where you were sure that your life was a potential reality show.
It goes incredibly fast. One day you have a newborn on your chest. The next, you’re wondering where the time has gone.
If you’re lucky enough to have your kids there, go hug them, tell them you love them, right now, even if you can’t stand them. Because this is a moment you are not getting back.