every now and then, i'll have a day that knocks me on my emotional butt. a day when the reality of time hits me harder than a glass of wine started and finished while cooking dinner. they happen once every few months, and they have a tendency to sneak up on me when i least expect it, and they leave me feeling all the things there are to feel, all at one time.
i'm a person who is easily distracted- by the monotony of daily life, by the way my body decides to feel on any given day, by the weather, by current events, by the sudden lack of daniel tiger on netflix- what i'm saying is, it's easy for me to lose sight of the things that are standing right in front of me because i allow my attention to be stolen by other, less important things. that's not to say i don't notice things, because i do. i hear my 2 year old sing the abc's for the first time, or watch as my 3 year old zips up his jacket on his own after weeks of practice, but with my mind unfocused and my heart in denial, the reality of what they mean often escapes me.
and then, i'll have a time warp day. a day like today, when all of a sudden, i see my kids for the first time as these people who are not the same people they were 8, or 6, or even 2 weeks ago. i manage to look up through the haze of meal planning and cash budgeting and the second migraine this week and it hits me- really, truly sinks into my heart- that they have grown. parts of them are gone, discarded, left behind in their memories and my heart and a few gigabytes on my hard drive. and at the same time, i'm able to see other parts that are completely new. i watch my big get dressed all on his own, and the last 3 weeks of him getting dressed without help rushes at me like a crashing wave and even though i saw it happening, i didn't understand. not really. not till today, when i realize that this is no longer a skill that we're working on. he has arrived. he has practiced, mastered, and gained this independence, and i smile with a fierce, deep pride while i cry as i say goodbye to this part of him that i'll never get back.
and then my little, my baby, looks up at me from across the hall and says "momma, i put daddy's shoes on". and all these weeks of him speaking longer sentences, all the text messages to his daddy sharing the latest cute words, all the praises of his efforts to communicate with us, they all combine together into this one sentence that hangs in the air between us, and what it really says is "time is moving past us, and i am moving with it." and i am reminded that everyday, there is something new, but to make room for the new, they have to shed the old. his words now are so beautiful and precious, his voice one of my favorite sounds, but my heart aches for the days when he would wander through our house and growl, simply for the sake of hearing and feeling the power of his voice. i am so excited to welcome this little one who now likes to dress up in daddy's shoes and pretend he goes to work too, but a part of me mourns the loss of the even littler one who would rather just sit and chew on the shoelaces.
the truth is, i need time warp days. i need to take the time to notice- to really, truly, honestly see- how incredibly my children are growing. i need a submersion in reality, and not the reality of laundry and dirty dishes and cleaning the toilet seat for the 800th time. the reality of what being a child means, of what the rewards of the work of motherhood are, a reminder to slow down and cherish it all, because eventually all of it will be gone. time will gradually take who they are and replace each part bit by bit with a newer, older, more independent part until one day, even though they'll always be mine, they won't really be mine anymore. they will be their own, and they will continue on through life carrying a piece of my heart with them. and when that day comes, i will be grateful for these pictures i have of them, so i can have a whole new kind of time warp day. i can go back and remember how round their cheeks were, how wild their hair was after a long hard sleep, how their legs looked so long but so chubby, how their little dimpled hands found mine when they were overwhelmed or lonely or just looking for reassurance of love. i take these pictures and collect these moments so that when we're done living them, i can have them to remember, always, the beauty of the time that passed us by.