A minute ago I had babies. I was a diaper changing machine. I could hold three little ones in one arm, while making dinner and feeding the dog with the other arm. I fell into bed at night only to be awakened at 11pm, 1am, 3am and 5am. My house was a disaster, I rarely showered, and I would often go on disturbing tirades as I turned furniture upside down looking for an old (choose one, please...pull-up, bottle of milk, crusty poop).
I shared oddly personal information with complete strangers while standing in line for Santa. Simply because she had a stroller too and looked as haggard as I felt. I craved the company of other moms...exclusively. I was completely ignorant of world events. I read Twilight. I learned Spanish from Dora. And I got strangely competitive at sorting my shapes.
But things have changed. And I am reminded of the mom of teenagers who leaned over my three screaming children at the grocery store one day to tell me knowingly, "Enjoy this time with your babies. They will be grown before you know it."
All the cliches that everyone loves to remind you of when you are knee deep in babies are pretty much all true.
Now I feel as though I am straddling both sides of momhood. I can feel our family moving forward and away from those days. It is a welcomed move but simultaneously bittersweet. I am often taken aback at how each of our kids is their own little person. They still need my ever constant attention, but in different and often more subtle ways. And sometimes, they are just fine without me holding them, kissing them or cuddling them in the middle of the night.
Last Saturday, I took Ella and Keira out for an afternoon. While eating lunch I look over and see a mother sitting with her teenage daughter. I look back at by eight and six-year-old who are giggling because they just spied a couple kissing. My eyes are watering. "Mommy, what's wrong?" Keira asks.
"Girls, one day you are going to be teenagers! You will want to hang out with friends more than you want to be with me. Before I know it you will be going away to college. And just yesterday you were my little babies!"
Keira puts her hand over mine and assures me confidently, "I will not move out of the house for a long, long time."
Ella gives me her exasperated eight-year-old look. (I see that one a lot lately.) Then she says kindly and patiently, "Mommy, just slow down and enjoy the moment. We're still little kids."
Okay, I get the message.