a look back
This sweet picture of my babies sits on the top shelf of our flex space upstairs. I was noticing it the other day while I was finishing a Peloton ride. The clothes the kids had on were their Easter outfits and I remember making and smocking Charlotte's dress.
They were probably 3 & 4 here. If I'm honest I don't remember much about this season - except being very tired and very lonely. I was at home full time with my littles during that season while also running my business. I'd like to think the business was a side hustle, but it really wasn't. I was doing both simulatenously.
I also was struggling personally. My marriage wasn't in a great place and I lived with incredible anxiety. It's no wonder I was tired.
But those precious babies showed up smiling every day. I do remember their joy, their imaginative play, their need for me to be everywhere they were (even if I was in the shower). They saw me as their constant. Their safety. They actually were little extensions of me.
Sometimes I wish I could go back and enjoy it more. I remember all the older ladies telling me to soak all of it up. To enjoy every minute. And I remember thinking how? How do I enjoy all of this when it is so hard.
They meant well - as do I now when I encourage young mothers the same way. But I wish I had let go of this a little bit. You aren't going to enjoy the hard. No one likes dealing with a tantrum, a sick child, a day when everyone is crying, or some of the irrational behavior that comes with this age (like loosing their mind over the color of their cup).
What I've realized since is that while I remember the hard - when I look at these images the good memories come pouring back. The hunting for eggs, the delight on Christmas morning, the fun at birthdays, or their squealing on the swings with joy. And I think that might be what us old, tenured mommas are telling the younger generation just trying to make it through each day. Take the time to go to the park, make the traditions, give the birthday party. When you are wondering during the chaos of that beach vacation (that is definitely not a vacation) and wondering if all the work is really worth it - it is. It is so, so worth it. And this is sometimes one of those areas in your life that you won't reap the reward until later - that reward is in the precious memories you create together.
Here's the thing, I love having teenagers. I actually prefer the age of my kids over younger children. They are fun and funny and I'm definitely not cool anymore to my kids - but I'm still their constant, their safety, and the place they land when they need a little help. I'm still not great at it. I'm still tired, but we all get to laugh and enjoy and carry on the memories we have made together. And it's beautiful!