For a lot of my years as a mom, actually most of them if I’m being honest, I have always been looking forward to the next thing, the next phase, of our lives. When the kids were little I couldn’t wait for them to all sleep through the night. Then it was wanting them to all be potty trained. After that, I couldn’t wait for them to all be in school. I’ve always been looking for the next milestone when things would be easier, better.
My mom gave me the greatest advice you can ever tell a new mom: “This too shall pass”. Those are words that keep you sane when you are sleep deprived and covered in baby fluids. But as your kids get older, those sweet words begin to take on a bitter aftertaste. You begin to realize that soon, it will all pass….and that’s when you start to realize that you don’t want it to.
I can say unequivocally that this family is my greatest accomplishment. It is my greatest joy, my deepest sadness, my only sense of what is real and lasting in this world. They give me hope. They make me curse, laugh, shout, and cry…sometimes at the same time. And they show me the unfathomed depths of my own love.
When I look at Wyatt, growing so quickly into a man, I see the boy I have known from the moment they showed him to me in the operation room. But I also see the man that I don’t know, the man that he’s becoming, and I want to meet him. Every day I want to meet this person that is now all him, with only touches of his father and I.
I watch Kate and I see that she is right there on the cusp. The cusp of all the greatness and terribleness that is high school and teenage years. She’s standing at the edge of that chasm and I simultaneously want to pull her back and push her forward.
And Abby…Abby, who strains at the bit and wants to be 22 instead of 12. Desperate to carve her own path and prove her own worth and so much like me that I feel the need to apologize to her.
And all of a sudden I don’t want the next phase anymore. I don’t want this to pass. I want to stay right here in this moment, just for a moment longer. I understand in my core that this is the last time our family will be this linked, this connected, in this particular way. Soon, so soon that I can’t think about it for too long at a time, they will be building their own lives and creating their own worlds. But right now, for this finite period of time, we are in the perfect place, between those sought after milestones…we are in the sweet spot.
And I’d hold us here, if at all possible. But it’s not. It’s not possible to stand still in this life, not possible to stay the passage of time and seasons and youth. So all I can do is savor these moments and store them away in my heart and embrace the changes that are coming. Because although this too shall pass, perhaps the future will bring it’s own new perfections. Perhaps there will just be new sweet spots.