Recently we were rewatching The Office and in one of the last episodes Andy Bernard made the statement “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” I turned to David and said “You know, we’re in the good old days.”
There are so many difficult things about this toddler stage of life.
– Potty training.
– Bargaining with them to eat.
– Putting them back in bed…and back in bed….and back in bed…
– Trying to instill a basic sense of right and wrong into a tiny human who doesn’t even know their ABC’s so that some day they can grow up to be a good, well-mannered full-grown human.
Yes, it’s tough. No one ever said it was going to be easy. But the fact of the matter is: We are in the good old days.
These are the times that we are going to wish we could have back once they’re gone. I know this and I try to remember this when the days seem tough. There are some days when both of my girls are extra wound up or fussy or just won’t listen. I try to remind myself in these moments that these are the good old days. I would take a day like that over a day at work any day of the week.
The other night something upset Audrey as we were laying her down for bed. This was unusual for her. She typically goes right to sleep when we lay her down in her crib. But on this particular night something was bothering her.
I ended up holding her real close and rocking her as she clutched her “brr” (her elephant) and her blanket until she calmed down and fell asleep. I’m pretty sure it only took about 10 minutes for her to fall asleep but I rocked her for close to 30. I even thought “this could be the last time I rock her to sleep.” I did not want to let this sweet girl go. As she relaxed more she let go of her things and wrapped her arms around me. There was no way I was giving up this moment so quickly.
I know that they are growing so fast and especially now, seeing Raley’s growing independence, I realize this more than ever. I frequently think “this could be the last time” and then I want to just clutch it tight and never let it go.
On the fourth of July we were watching fireworks in the parking lot at church. We were surrounded by friends and family. Raley was sitting in my lap as the fireworks were starting and a few of her friends were sitting in a chair next to us. I had so many fleeting thoughts during this short time she was sitting in my lap – “Should I tell her to go sit with her friends?” “No, I love watching her reaction.” “I love that she is enjoying this with me.” “This could be the last year that she would rather sit in Mommy’s lap than sit with her friends so I’m going to hold on to her as long as I can.”
It’s like she was reading my mind because no sooner did that thought go through my brain did she hop out of my lap. I was bummed for a second but then she said “I just want to sit right here.” She sat down on the ground beside my chair, then reached up to hold my hand. Then my heart swelled up all over again.
I know that these moments will continue to happen as they continue to grow. It’s just part of life. Your kids grow up faster than you’d like.
There will soon be a last time they choose Mommy over friends.
There will be a last time they ask for the princess beach towel because princesses are for babies.
There will be a last time I rock Audrey to sleep (I can’t remember the last time I rocked Raley to sleep.)
There will be a last time they want to play with Bitty Baby. They’ll soon ask for a big American Girl doll instead. But then a few years later they’ll grow out of that too.
There will be a last time they kiss me goodbye when they go to school or get excited to see me when I pick them up.
There will be a last time I lay next to them in bed and fall asleep with them in my arms. (As much as I love this, it only happens occasionally because it makes Raley’s bedtime problem worse.)
There will be a last time we read a bedtime story.
There will be a last time they try to mimic what we do. At some point we will no longer be “cool.”
There will be a last time they reach up for my hand at the playground.
There will be a last time we have dance parties in the kitchen or they dance on their daddy’s feet.
There will come a time when they no longer want to play “dress up” in princess costumes. They will want to dress up with big girl clothes and high heels and make up.
Knowing that all of this will happen sooner than I’d like makes me want to freeze time, right here and now, in this phase that we’re in, and never let it start back. I want so bad for these days to last forever. No matter how hard and long they sometimes are. I’m sure every phase has its joys, but I know for a fact that once these days are gone, we will be wishing we could have them back. We will be saying “Ahh, those were the good old days.”
So for now, I’m trying to enjoy these days while they last and soak up every sweet memory I possibly can. My girls may not remember this time, but I know I will.
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