Wednesday, April 10, 2013 forward

My mom found this piece I wrote back in 2006... when I had two kids, was only homeschooling one, and wasn't chasing a dream that had been stewing in my veins for quite a while and finally boiled over at the most inconvenient time in my life. Needless to say, I had a little more time to write. 

"Mommy, when am I going to get my own lip gloss and cell phone?" Audrie asked as we headed into the grocery store. The question blindsided me. In the midst of my shock I did what any composed, sensible parent would do-- I panicked.

Lip gloss? Cell phone? Where did this come from? All right, calm down, you can handle this.

"Why do you need lip gloss and a cell phone?" I questioned, trying to assess the situation, but my mind wandered on. I saw eye shadow and mascara masking those naturally beautiful green eyes, imagined arguments over curfews, trips to the mall sans parents. An overwhelming sense of dread permeated my body as my mind ventured forth and the thought of dating entered my head.

I'm not ready for this! I thought I had more time!

This January Audrie will celebrate her 6th birthday, and I will be coming to terms with the fact that my baby girl is growing up, fast. I can no longer hide my denial in the comfort of toddler clothing from the baby department. We are now exclusively shopping in the girls clothing department, size 6. Audrie lost her first tooth in August and another in October. She has grown an inch since September, rides her bike without training wheels, and she is now reading books to me. Her plans for future careers are neatly written down in a notebook. They are as follows:
 I want to be a book writer.
I want to be a mom.
I want to be an artist.
She loves to write stories, and she draws constantly. She told me she wanted to have 15 children when she grows up, but has since narrowed it down to 3. (I personally wouldn't mind having 15 grandchildren!) As for a future spouse, she told me while I was pregnant, that she was going to marry her brother, and almost cried when I told her she couldn't. So, with the exception of a slight hitch in her marriage plans, she is well on her way to achieving her goals.

Finn will be a world explorer. I grin when I think about how fitting his room decor is to his personality. When I was pregnant with him, I watched my belly shift and roll, felt constant kicks, and knew I would have my hands full. Since his birth, he has yet to slow down. He started crawling two months ago, and now, at 8 months of age, we expect him to soon be walking on his own. He is constantly busy, and spends his days trying to access and explore the world beyond the makeshift pen in our living room.
His favorite destination: anyplace but his current location. 
Favorite toy: everything but the age appropriate, brightly colored musical toys within hands' reach.
Favorite activity: treading the treacherous waters of the bath with his sister, or finding ways to escape the safe zone to embark on dangerous voyages into the more exciting, less baby-proofed areas.

Seeing Audrie and Finn together is such a joy. She will do the most mundane thing countless times just to make him giggle, and he laughs at almost anything she does. Yet I can't help but look at Audrie and think, Where did the past six years go?, and look at Finn and know that he will be six one day, all too soon.

As each milestone of babyhood is met and conquered, and longings for dolls and fairy wings give way to requests for lip gloss and cell phones, I feel as though time with my children is fleeting. It's at these moments that I have to tell myself not to dwell on things that are yet to come, and remind myself of the little things I encounter each and every day that make these years with my children magical.

Audrie asks me every morning, "What should I be today?" and proceeds to dress up as a polar bear or a piece of chocolate candy. The way Finn throws his arms up when asked how big he is. The smell of his hair after he has taken a bath. Audrie telling me that she loves me even more than the chocolate. Watching Charlotte's Web with her and us both crying. Finn giving big, slobbery kisses. Waving bye to Dad as he heads to work yelling, "Audrie's a goober!" Audrie's quick retort, "You're a goober!" All four of us piling up in the bed every morning not wanting to get up. All four of us sitting on the couch at night, reading a book together, not wanting to go to bed.

Audrie walked into the living room the other day and stated in a matter of fact tone, "Mommy, there are only two things that eat fairies: crocodiles and big cockroaches!" I laughed, and time slowed down, if for just a moment.

And the sweet, tiring, magical, frustrating, amazing cycle begins again.     


After reading this, it struck me how eerily and effortlessly a simple little matter such as timing can impact your life. Six years later and another kid in the mix, and so much has changed, yet so much is the same.

 I sit here staring at these beautiful little boys [seen here with their beautiful great-grandmother].  I now have proof beyond my faulty memory that August is a carbon copy of his older brother. I could insert August's name in the description of 8 month old Finn and it would all ring true. 

I look at my Finn. That little baby who I knew would all too quickly turn six one day celebrates his seventh birthday this Friday. 

And then there's my sweet baby girl. I can't believe that this stage in life, the one that I so feared somehow crept in, and now stares at me every morning through those beautiful hazel eyes. I'm still not ready for it.

And I'm left wondering if I truly savored those moments. Life gets busy. It's full of twists and turns and schedules and surprises.  And I know, I know, that I should slow down and soak up these fleeting moments with my children, but so many times I feel as if I'm just trying to make it through the day without any bumped heads, scraped knees, or bruised hearts. I live for Saturdays when I don't have to wave good-bye to my husband in the morning and hope that he'll get home before I put the kids in bed. I long for the days when I can get six hours of uninterrupted sleep. So many times I feel as if I'm on the brink of insanity. But that's just it. That's life. It's an insane, crazy, busy journey sprinkled with sweet moments. 
Reading that piece from 2006 was a bit of a slap in the face, a wake up call to slow down, to soak up, to savor those sprinkles because I blinked and this...

became this...

 I'll blink again, and they'll be grown.  And I hope that when they're grown, and they're thinking about their childhood, they'll look beyond the chaos, and remember the those little moments we shared together that made life sweet. 

And hopefully, as they're reminiscing, they'll remember to visit their mother in the insane asylum, and remind her of those sweet moments, too.


nessa dee

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