So much of my journey of motherhood has been spent trying to figure out a way to freeze time. I have loved every stage, and always find myself saying, “This. This is by far my favorite.” And then the next stage comes, and some how, it tops the previous. I have no doubt life speeds up the moment you become a parent. I’m guessing the enormous amount of space immense joy and extreme worry takes up in your brain, makes it impossible for you to have a moment of boredom and therefore, time races by.
I often tell my boys to slow down…literally AND figuratively. I hold them in my arms like I did when they were newborns, and ask them to stay my baby forever. They will of course, but only in my heart. They fit in my arms a little differently now. They are constantly growing and changing. Faster than I can keep up, most of the time.
I’ve begged my brain and my heart to remember the smell of my newborns’ head, the weight of them sleeping on my chest, and the feel of their whole hand wrapped around my pinky. I never want to forget the sound of their high pitched voices and the deep belly giggles. I cherish the feeling of them knocking me over when they run at me, arms wide open, for a hug. And I love the way I can comfort them in the night after a bad dream or after a fall on the bike, knowing it won’t always be that easy to kiss their tears away.
I’m a sentimental mama, and I try to document it all. I have filled our computer with hundreds of photos. The big moments, the firsts, the silly moments, and everything in between. I have several forms of baby books, and boxes of keepsakes. I write down all their milestones, and the silly things they say. Their handprints and artwork cover our refrigerator and our hallway walls. But none of these things slow the hands of the clock.
We took our last baby home from the hospital. I just watched our middle go from our youngest to a big brother overnight. I attended my first baby’s preschool graduation. All these moments are bittersweet. I sat in the seats at pre-k graduation fighting back tears of both heartache and pride. My baby was up on stage singing his little heart out as I flashed through the memories of the past five years. So much as change. He’s grown and learned so much. As much as I can’t believe it, he is so ready for this next chapter.
As much as I ask my boys to slow down, time ticks on. Instead of letting my heart break with every last first, I’ve decided to cherish this time and be grateful.
After welcoming our third boy, I whole hardheartedly feel like our family is now complete. And so the last of the firsts have begun in my house. I feel the tug on my heart as I pack up maternity clothes. For good this time. Part of me is so sad watching all the first go by, because I know this is our last. But another part of me is so excited for what our future holds for our family.
Perhaps part of cherishing these fleeting moments is that I am also the one that needs to slow down. Not the kids, and not the clock. I often find myself rushing, but for no good reason at all. I’m going to try to focus on the small stuff more. The dishes and the laundry can wait. I’m going to sit on the floor and do a giant dino puzzles with my boys. I’m going to read that book for the sixth time today, and draw silly pictures with chalk outside. Those are ways to make the days count, right?
Embracing the next stages
I’m ready to watch the three brothers grow and nurture their bond. I’m soaking up all the newborn snuggles, but my heart is also excited to see each of their new accomplishments and milestones ahead. I have selflessly given my body to my babies for the past 6 years, and I’m ready for a new normal. We will slowly trade all the baby gear for big kid stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to wish away this precious time with our last newborn in our house, but I also look forward to them all being able to enjoy the same fun activities together.
As much as I want to pause time, each new stage comes with new exciting things to enjoy with my littles. I do miss certain stages, but I wouldn’t trade their current stages either. I love watching their budding personality grow. They have so much good ahead of them, and I can’t wait to see it. They just get better and better, and I love them more and more each day. So I just have to hold tight to my memories and spend time making them good ones. I plan to make all the firsts special, and cherish the moments as they speed on by, but I’m ready to welcome all the good stuff ahead. I can’t wait for my three boys to continue to amaze me, make me proud, and fill my life with more love and joy than I could ever have wished for.