They said it would happen. They all said it would happen. And now, quite officially, it has. Dylan has “grown up so quickly.”
To be sure, when you’re in the middle of the [insert adversity of choice: tantrum twos / potty training woes / biting stage]– the days are LONG. And to be honest, just a little part of you wants to punch the veteran mom who’s telling you to savor every minute because “they grow up so fast.” Savor every minute of feeling drop dead tired? Savor every minute of feeling frustrated to the point of tears? Savor every minute of excusing yourself from yet another social event due to a potty accident? The recommendation is a hard pill to swallow.
And yet, sure enough, you realize that the latter part is true.
They do grow up so quickly. It starts with the realization that baby no longer fits into the newborn size of diaper. It’s quickly followed by packing away the 0-3 month clothes, and while doing so, you catch yourself holding up one of the outfits before packing it in the bin and saying, “I can’t believe he’s already outgrown this!” Then come all the firsts – first smile, first giggle, first time rolling over….This is all followed by the “big ones” – first words, first time walking, first day of preschool….
And then, amidst all the rounds of the alphabet song and tickle sessions and reminders to wash hands after the potty and “I’m gonna give you to the count of three” threats, you arrive at the last day of preschool. And you look at that precious face, and you try to make out the “baby” in it – “It’s still there, right? Isn’t it still there? I can still see it.” And you remember - yes, vividly – the sweet moments of talking to your baby on the changing table; the first time he counted to ten; the way he so easily bounced on your knee in music class; and how he bravely waltzed into the school on the very first day – bearing a backpack bigger than him.
And you sit in the preschool room watching him sing the colors song and you fight back tears because this is only a preschool graduation, you know. He’s not leaving the house! Don’t be one of those emotional mom-types.
And you smile through the water that is starting to well up and spill down your cheek. Because this is a happy occasion and you don’t want to confuse your little guy whose happy, twinkling eyes have been glued on you since the moment you arrived to the classroom.
But secretly, you want to go into a corner and just let it all out. That teeny little bundle that nestled so snuggly into your arms is suddenly in front of you in size 5 clothing, with diploma in hand, reciting the pledge of allegiance. And yes, I said “suddenly.”
My husband and I attended a parenting conference a few years back in which a speaker shared the phrase, “The days are long, but the years are short.”
I don’t know how this can be, but I certainly find it to be true. Most of my friends can attest to the fact that, in the raising of Dylan, I have had many long days. But even more so, I have had many joyful days, where my heart is so proud of him that it could just burst. And I guess it was the mix of the two that spurred on those tears on May 31, 2013.
And just when I was reflecting, with a thankful heart, that the hard stuff with him is mostly behind us, Dylan said to us at the dinner table, “Hey, wanna sit here and listen to me count to 100?”
Indeed, the days are long.
But remember – the years are short.