It Won’t Always Be Like This

I’m deep into a double coffee and Diet Coke day to get through the workload. I’m so desperately tired from kids who are sick or don’t sleep through the night. I’m trying my very best to get through the day, workweek, and year. I want to pursue my career and be a good mom. I want to take care of myself but sometimes only my latest dentist appointment feels like relaxing. I know there will be a day when I walk to the coffee shop and sit down with a book without anxiety about rushing and shuffling. That day will come and I’ll await the calls from my kids and be hopeful for invitations to be with them.

It won’t always be like this.

We fall into bed in unison. Collapsing from a full load of parenting and work. Our marriage often feels like the forgotten pet that needs attention. We share phone calls to jostle through the logistical details of our lives: school events, activities, appointments, and meetings. Sometimes we reach across the bed and do a high-five, linking hands together goodnight. Other times, we are too exhausted to utter words and we fall asleep as our heads hit the pillows. We say we will prioritize dating each other, but the logistics of it often become too overwhelming, so we promise each other a night together and we promptly fall asleep next to each other watching Netflix. Our love is real, deep, and meaningful, yet we don’t always take care of it as it deserves.

It won’t always be like this.

The orange was shining through the trees as it crawled along the hill to make the turn to our street. In unison, the parents and kids shouted, “Bus!” The children shuffled down the snow bank and put away the sleds and quickly tried to put their backpacks on over their large puffy winter coats. The older kids were quicker and they advanced to the beginning of the line and were stepping on the bus. My kids turned around, “Hug!” they said before they assembled in the line. I hugged each of my children tightly, whispering in their ear that I loved them and I hoped they had a great day. The other parents were lucky if they got a wave or even eye contact to acknowledge that they were leaving. It was cold, but the stinging in my nose was that feeling when you fight off crying. I watched the bus pull away and I knew in that moment to savor it, hold that feeling of being wanted and loved deeply.

It won’t always be like this.

He blinked his eyes as I poured the water over his head. “Eyes up to the sky,” I say as I rinse the last of the shampoo from his head. Only years before, he was hours old and we lay together in the bathtub. Now his body stretches the length of the tub. At times the obligatory caretaking tasks of motherhood feel burdensome. For now and today, this simple act of washing my child feels sentimental. One day I won’t be needed for this act of caretaking, there will be new and different caretaking tasks in my motherhood.

It won’t always be like this.

We’ve lost control of our bed. They squeal as they jump up and down. We try and catch them, afraid they will fall off and hurt themselves. We snuggle like sardines stacked neatly, sometimes reading our own books, other times we take turns reading to each other. Often, they yell out for us at night. We set them next to our bed and they still find a way in. We wake eye-to-eye with our kids and we struggle with the cuteness and exhaustion. We give up our bed, privacy, and quiet, finding solace in knowing that one day we will miss the chaos, the way they fit right next to us, and their joy for a new day.

It won’t always be like this.

She grabs my hand and drags me across the room. She needs me right now for support. We look up the book and we scan the aisles, then the shelves for the call number of the book. She holds her books and I hold mine, yet we have room to also hold each other. She’s not embarrassed by me, she wants and needs me. She doesn’t yet want to go it alone and I won’t make her either. I don’t push too hard for her to find stability alone, I support her. I’m confident she will one day do all of this alone and I will be there to encourage her, ready for an opportunity to give her the support she wants and needs.

It won’t always be like this.

I can barely carry him. When he falls asleep on the way home in the car, I struggle to carry him to bed. He no longer fits in the shopping cart, his legs too long. The last time he convinced me to put him in the cart, I had to pry him out, his legs too long to sit properly. I can still carry him on my hip but barely, I pop him back in place and hope my back doesn’t give out. “Carry me, mama.” I’ll keep giving in until he stops asking. I don’t know when mamas stop carrying their babies. I worry the last time will happen and I won’t know it is the last time.

It won’t always be like this.

“Goodnight, my sweet boy, and girl.” They lay tucked in, the night has slowed. Later I go back when I know they have finally fallen asleep. I pull their covers up around them and stop to watch them breathe. I brush my hand across their hair and then over their cheek. I put my hand on their heart and stay still, pressing in my love for them. I worry about my mistakes and misspoken words in motherhood. I hope I’m doing this job right. When I look at them in this quiet, I know the speed in which our time together has gone and I pray they have absorbed my love for them.

It won’t always be like this.

“Don’t leave, mom.” He gave me ten hugs this morning. I was putting my coffee mug in the car and the house door flew open, “One more hug, mom.” I hugged him tightly, I released my worry about being late to work. I said goodbye another time, closed the door, and went back into the garage. Tears fell down my face, overwhelmed by his love and my struggle to embrace my purpose in working outside the home. I’m insecure daily about the choices I make, I have no evidence I am making the right choices. I hope I am, I hope I have done right by my children and myself.

It won’t always be like this.

They beg me to play. Legos, swimming in the pool, digging in the sand, board games, and coloring. They just want me. They think I’m fun. They want me to be present and engaging with them. I am so focused on logistics and time, I too often forget about the importance of this time. The scary truth is that they won’t always find me fun, I won’t always be their first choice, I won’t be cool, or engaging enough. But right now I am and I will be consistent in reminding myself about this role.

It won’t always be like this.

These moments are just a fragment of my interactions with my children. I chose to stop and soak them in my heart and mind. When I turn to aggravation or exhaustion, I try to turn to gratitude and appreciation for this moment in time. I know it won’t always be like this. And truthfully, I vacillate between excitement and sadness about it depending on the day and sometimes, even the time of day.

If I can see the light, I will shine in my motherhood. I am grateful for these simple moments with my children and the ability to lock into the moment and counsel myself about the importance and the fleeting opportunities they present to me every day.

If I can see the light, I will shine in my motherhod. Click To Tweet

Thank you to Sarah Hudson Photography for the beautiful photos captured in this post.

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4 thoughts on “It Won’t Always Be Like This

  1. LOVED THIS! Exactly how it feels to be a mother and grandmother. Yesterday, two of my grandchildren hugged me tightly when they arrived and left. I keep wondering when my almost 12 year old grandson will stop hugging me. Hopefully, never as we are a hugging family. Thank you!

  2. Beautiful! My kids are a bit older (5th and 6th grade) but still give hugs and want ‘cuddle time’ at night. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy and savor every moment…

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