Wednesday, June 4, 2008

To my three babies

Here we are, in the second full week of our summer vacation. The first few days were a little rough on me, I'll admit. I have been so used to spending several hours a day all by myself - doing what I wanted, when I wanted. And then suddenly, here are you three little people.

Here. In my clean house.

And you are always hungry. ALWAYS leaving things out. And not the least bit concerned with the trail of crumbs behind you.

But in spite of this, I think we've found our rhythm, you and I. I'm looking at your cheerful faces across the table, listening to your chatter, and I find that my heart is full.

With each various stage of life that we've gone through together, it seemed to me that I would always remember. I'll be honest - sometimes, it felt like your less-desirable phases would never end. I can definitely think of at least one that is irrevocably seared into the recesses of my mind.

But there are so many more that I know I have forgotten.

Long ago, as I held your baby selves, smelling your sweet little necks, I promised myself I would never forget. That these moments, like the thousands of photos I've taken of you, would always be permanently etched in my mind. But now that a little time has passed, I find that I just can't quite recall your baby smells. I have all but forgotten the sounds of your newborn cries. And it hurts my heart to think that I won't ever again hear your bubbly toddler voices.

Only when I creep to your bedside at night do I see traces of the babies you once were. Even you, McKay, still sometimes purse your little lips together, making that all-too familiar puckered face. It's when you're in that angelic, dreamy state that it all comes back to me. And it brings a smile to my face every time.

Right now though, I want to freeze this. I don't want these days, and these people you are today, to be only a memory.

I want to remember how Hannah's voice sounds when she's just woken up and has a head full of morning hair. I want to remember the way Chase lights up when he talks about conservation or a new story he's written. I want to always see McKay's crooked smile, and feel the swell of pride when walking by him curled up, reading a book. Because I just love that he's a reader. Like me.

I am in love with the phase that you're all in. You've suddenly, and without warning, become very interesting people to be around. You're growing more independent every day. Your opinions are all your own, and not reflections of what you hear your dad and I say. You see that your life will not always be dictated by me, and you really like the idea of that.

You are doing what children should. You are doing what I want you to do. You are growing up.

I am just so afraid that I will forget.

And I probably will.

But if I've learned nothing else as a mother, it's this: I will always mourn each phase as it passes me by, leaving me standing on the sidelines. And although it leaves my arms a little more empty each time, it leaves my heart a whole lot more full.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

32 comments:

Jenibelle said...

Amen.

I just came home from another child graduating from 8th grade, it is wonderful that he is growing and has so many opportunities...but dang it, why does it have to be at the expense of him being my little boy?

Lauren said...

That was just so, so, so, so, so, beautifully written. I loved each and every word.

It really is true. I struggle when they are all home and I have been struggling to have the patience that I need to with my kids but, I heard them laughing as they were playing yesterday and I took a deep breath and vowed to try harder just to appreciate them and not wish this time away.

Thank you.

Annie said...

Yes. Amen & absolutely. Here's to full hearts (and increasingly independent children).

These middle-childhood years are the best-kept secret of parenting, don't you think? Old enough to entertain themselves. Not too old to hang out at home and think we're still pretty great (rather than be off to other "more interesting" things).

Kristin said...

Amen, here is to mourning each phase they go through.

Lindsey said...

Aww... I forget they WILL be out of this stage.. since I have a 15 month old. I see glimpses of it in my 6 year old, but still, not quite there yet. Fun, I do love who she is becoming, and love watching the journey.

mary elizabeth said...

this was lovely. just so lovely.

Ashlee said...

What a beautiful post. I completely agree and understand. My babies get bigger every day and it makes me so sad. But, it is fun to watch them grow and learn too. Here's to our memories!

Jessica said...

I have this secret dream that heaven includes being able to call up everything (smells, emotions, sounds) of a moment from our lives and relive it. That would be my heart's greatest desire, I think, and isn't heaven supposed to fulfill that?

(And thanks for not commenting on the messiness of my house. I kept thinking, Christie's eye is SO going to twitch.)

dcrmom said...

Sniff. What an awesome post.

Kenny and Linsey said...

This is lovely and so good of you to take the time to memorialize. Now you'll always have this even when the memories of the memories fade.

Melissa Walker said...

I feel that way too--they are growing so quickly! At least I still have a baby at home to help me remember!
Also, I had a funny dream about you last night. My kids and I came to visit you and we were throwing some big party so I was up in the middle of the night crafting something at your house. You woke up too and brought chocolate to the middle of the night. Us being up woke up all the kids and then we persuaded them back to bed with the promise of chocolate in the morning. It was very vivid for not having met you or your kids in person!

Bridget said...

Big amen to all that. Each phase of life with kids is so fun and so much better than the last it seems.

gab said...

So sweet! These moments are fleeting. Thanks for the beautiful reminder.

RobynandJoe said...

What a sweet post! It helps to read stuff like this...I really do get sad that my babies (who are still babies) won't always be babies. It will be neat to see the people they become. Thanks for that!

Annemarie said...

I have tears. Just today as I was wrestling with my 2 yr old during the boys swimming lessons another mom said "Just think, next year you can put them all in lessons...what will you do?" To which I replied "Cry." I'm trying to savor these moments because I know they will be ending. Thanks!

TravelinOma said...

I think Jessica is right. I'm hoping to be able to pop in some kind of heavenly DVD and actually be in the memory again. Grandchildren give you the chance to a degree, and the experience eliminates all the responsibilities.

It's awesome when you can recognize the joy you're having right now!

ashli said...

such a sweet post christie. as i sit here and smell my sweet baby's neck i'll admit...i'm a little teary. i don't want to forget either. thanks for putting it so eloquently.

danandcindy said...

Would you please write something that I can make fun of. I would appreciate it if you would return to writing about your make-up, or your favorite recipe, or McDonalds food, or your stupid OCD lists. That way I can get back to doing what I do best, and that's tearing you down, to build myself up.

Kim N said...

What a sweet post. My heart hurts every day as I watch my last baby learning new things all the time. I love the new stages, but miss the old. Good thing all this learning and growing they are doing also brings us joy!

CJ, the Purple Diva said...

Sweet post. Sounds like you know the importance of cherishing every moment you have with them! Time goes so quickly, and the older I get the more I realize that. Seems like yesterday my oldest was a baby and she will soon be 28!

Amber said...

Well put! For the first time, I am really, really enjoying the stage my children are in. Infants and toddlers are not a natural fit for me -- I'm much more attuned to the youth. But I truly love seeing these little guys develop into talented and fun individuals!

Amanda said...

Great post, Stie. Very beautifully written. It sounds like you have great kids.

Susy said...

It is so nice to stop and smell the roses. I try to do this but days run into weeks and weeks into months well you know what I mean. Keep up the great post they inspire me.

Lynsie said...

Perfectly written.
I write in my "Jaimen Journal" its something I started when I was pregnant. Writing about how I felt while pregnant, and the day I had Jaimen, and many days after.
I cry every time I read some of my ramblings.
I have written many times that I wish time would freeze, in fact I am getting teary eyed thinking of it.
I remember when Jaimen was new and holding him and crying for about an hour because, never again would he be this way, this exact same way.

Kimberly said...

OK, I am in way too much of an emotional state right now to be reading posts like this! What a sweet mom you are!

Anna said...

Great post! Just the other day I told Murray that I loved being a mom to the girls when they were toddlers. He looked at me with a confused look and said, "that's not how I remember it". It really doesn't matter because I do remember loving that time of my life. So, keep writing and taking pics of your angels.

Tribe M said...

That brought tears to my eyes! Really beautiful. One of mine has that cute toddler voice right now and the other smells like a baby and I don't want these phases to pass. But I know that they just get better... in different ways. Thanks for helping me to appreciate every moment!

crystal said...

You've PERFECTLY expressed what I always struggle to verbalize to Mike when I tell him I "feel wistful." I love how you wrote this! I feel the same way, as the kids go through milestones and passages. Thanks for a great post, Stie!

Lorena said...

Thanks for this post. I just feel like my days fly by and I don't get to appreciate my miracles as much as I should. I'm definitely going to take a step back...who needs a clean house?

Kristy said...

Very beautifully written. I love that the comments from the other moms shows so clearly how even with our differences, that our Creator, in His awesome wisdom, made mothers very similar in many ways. Thanks for writing what so many of us feel.

As I was reading & a lump of emotion had formed in my throat, the calm was interrupted by a shriek and "he did..." I paused, sent them to their rooms, & re-read why I need to cherish every moment! Don't they know I was filling "wistful?" :)

Ilene said...

Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with the thought of having another baby in the house but then I look at my two boys all so grown up (okay they are only 4 and 18 months) and I'm glad I will get to have a baby in my arms again.

It goes way too fast. And half of the time I wish it would go faster. Thanks for making me want to slow it down a bit.

Laurie said...

Great post! I love getting a sneak peek into peoples homes. My sink is rarely clean. I wish it was - that's a goal of mine this summer.

LOVE your formal living room with all the black and whites! Stunning.