The other day I found myself standing, baby on hip, in the office of a woman I hadn't seen in a very long time. While she worked (more on that later) I tried to amuse the two year old by offering him a snack, one pretzel bite at a time. (as to minimize the crumb-y mess that is our usual wake) Little Man was eyeing all the buttons- cooking up a plan involving pressing ALL OF THEM... maybe AT THE SAME TIME. (Dude is positively nutty for buttons)
As I wandered around the room, bouncing the baby, handing him my phone, etc. I noticed little markings made on the door. It was a growth chart- and the names were quite familiar to me. You see, a very, very long time ago I used to babysit this dear family's once young children. I saw the name of her youngest boy, and had to crane my head up to see it- almost reaching the top of the door.
It was shocking to see how much the little chubby toddler I had known was now a very grown up, very tall teenager. I vividly remember playing with her son, setting him in his highchair and watching as he squished peaches into his drooling mouth. I remember thinking how cute the little boy was, and hoping one day I would have a baby just like him, so sweet and bright eyed. That boy... who was, at that time, around the same age as my very own little boy.
It was an odd convergence of who I once was, and who I had become. A humorous look at generations, and how fleeting time seems to be.
I remarked at how unbelievable it all was. And this lovely woman, wise in her years, laughed and said "yes, it does go by so fast... but it seems to take forever."
How right she is. At present, I'm stuck in the middle of THIS IS TAKING FOREVER! Yet still so aware of how much I will miss each and every little second. It's such a complex balance of enjoying and... well, managing.
A balance that was totally off this morning as I raced to squeeze in a shower, the girls started fighting over who was in who's room, and Little Man dumped the tea set into the toilet. I was so furious at all three of the kids, as I yelled, spanked, and placed everyone in time out. The dark cloud of THIS IS SO FREAKING HARD looming over the rest of the morning. Time and patience was short as I hustled everyone out the door to preschool, often having to threaten staying home from the fun entirely.
Squirt whined at one point "I just want you to be happy with me!" She then proceeded to slam the door in her sister's face with all the angsty rage of a hormonal teenager.
I wanted to be happy... I really did! But it felt like they had DRIVEN ME TO IT! All I'm asking is for you to refrain from fighting and mischief while I bathe myself. You are the ones misbehaving; I am dealing with it, perhaps rather poorly, yet nonetheless as best I can.
It felt like a porcupine asking for a big hug, quills and all. They want me to speak quiet and calmly to them... so they can ignore me completely.
After preschool drop off, I wondered how they felt. I felt relieved to have a) finally arrived on time and b) some time away from the girls. I hoped they were just happy to be at school, having a non-smelly mother to drop them off, to have had a jacket and proper shoes to keep them warm against the wind. I just prayed that they also understood how much I loved them, despite how angry I had been for a majority of the morning.
I wished I could have given them big hugs, sat them on my lap and had a long discussion about how we can all create a more harmonious and happy home, and ended it all with a big I LOVE YOU, GUYS. And I may just yet pull that little talk off at some point, but I have a feeling it wouldn't really sink in anyway. We are just all at the mercy of a five year old's emotional range and comprehension.