WHY OUR MOTHERS TELL US TO ENJOY OUR YOUTH AND BE HERE NOW
It’s getting close to Mother’s day. Not like tomorrow, but kinda. And I miss my Mom. Also, in case you’re wondering, yes, I still consider myself youthful. I’m not middle aged and I will arm wrestle you just to prove it. Anyway, I just came across this image of my girl. My baby. Who’s now almost 8. Who hugged me tonight and said “you’re such a good Mom and you’re doing great.” Yep, my baby. All of a sudden I’m totally confused. No, not uneducated, I do fully understand the concept of time. But why does it riddle us so inexplicably? I look at her face, her dimples, her hair, her arms, her baby teeth, and I’m taken back to our old house. To the rainy days when we would walk our driveway and pick spring flowers in her new polka dot rain boots. To another place and time. To me relenting to myself out loud over and over and over again, those were the days. And as I’m currently playing “scary monster” to my twin boys in the bonus room of our current home, I glance at the image one more time and I correct myself. “These are the days.” These are all the days. My eyes begin to well up with expected tears as I prepare another ‘scare’ for my boys who are patiently waiting for mommy to get her shit together and wipe her tears. My oldest twin says “Mommy crying?” I say “Mommy is happy! I love you.” He smiles and we play monsters on a Monday.
As I eagerly await my 3rd cup of coffee downstairs and a veggie omelet I’m about to whip up, I tuck my boys into their beds and pray quietly in my inside voice hoping they will actually stay in bed and sleep like angels. Just one hour. That’s it. That’s all I request. I just want to eat. That’s it. Just a meal, in quiet. And so I tuck them in and kiss them night night and walk out the door. In approximately 3 minutes, I hear little feet running down the hallway laughing and I run like a bat out of hell up the stairs to lay down my ground. I’m pissed. I want my damn omelet. I put them back in bed and hold my oldest twin (again) tight and say “I’m upset buddy, please listen to mommy and stay in bed.” He grabs my hand, kisses it and says “I’m sawry mommy. So sawry.” He kisses my hand again and then pulls me in for a kiss.
And I’m done. Dead. Melted away.
And then, they sleep.
This moment, brought to you by real genuine toddlerhood and motherhood on a Monday. And it is these very moments my Mom warned me about. She’s been saying it for years, “honey relax…and enjoy it. “And this is why it’s time to be here now.
I know I know. Easier said than done. And I preach this, a lot. And if you’re anything like me and you’ve been sick with the kids’ colds after 2 weeks of sleepless nights and all you really want is your damn omelet, listen, I get you. No shame here. I feel you mama. And I want you to have your omelet too.
It’s hard to stay present.
It’s hard to stay home with the kids.
It’s hard to parent.
But be here now.
I’ve struggled with this. It’s the “I’m not being productive enough” slam in my face every Monday morning. The I’m on my 3rd cup of coffee and I have to finish Marie Kondo-ing my closet. The Me, I have to pay the bills, do the laundry, exercise, grocery run and perhaps shower myself. It can be overwhelming. And exhausting. And a privilege yes. And if I’m honest, sometimes I still get mad about it. About the no nap. And the “it never ends”.
But not today. Today I paused in that moment my son kissed my hand and my face and said he was “sawry” and he loved me. Today I stood still. I was reeling in the glory of my youth and these mama years I’m in. And I was filled with so much happiness I could burst.
Hey mama, be here now. These days are captured in real time. Look at your baby. Look at you.
This. Is. Your. Life.
After the hand grab and the kiss and the “I’m sawry mama” it dawned on me (again) that this moment is passing. It’s here, then it’s not. And what a disservice we are doing to ourselves if we don’t rest here in the moment and seize it with our own hands. Imprint it on our memory muscle. Let it sink in, deep into the crevice of our beating hearts. Because one day the beat stops, and there’s no more moments.
I think I realize this today (despite my youth chant earlier) and more lately because we’re all getting older. It’s true though. Me. The husband. Friends. Mom and Dad. Aunts and Uncles. Cousins. Neighbors. Time is not on our side. But your life is. Be here now.
I had this conversation with my sister recently about her wanting to go back to her full time grind as a physician and the resistance she had with it. She repeatedly said “I have two years left with my oldest. Two years.” The phone got quiet. My heart stopped. And so did our conversation about her returning to the grind.
Be here now.
Put the paper pile to the side.
Stay in your sweats.
Kiss their faces off.
Go fly an actual kite.
Throw rocks into the river.
Teach them to fish.
Scare them behind the sofa and tickle them till their laughter makes them pee.
Hold them. And don’t let go.
Put down your smart phone.
Roll the windows down and ride.
Eat an ice cream on a bench.
Lay in the grass and feel the sunshine.
Do a cartwheel even if it hurts.
Let her brush your hair.
Let her failingly attempt two fishtail braids on your head.
Cuddle them while they are little.
And love them the only way you know how.
These are the days. This is our youth.
It’s the very thing our mothers have been telling us all along.
Enjoy your life.
Be here now.
Because one day you will miss it.
They are right mamas. And we should listen.