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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

these are the days

"These are days you'll remember. 
Never before and never since, I promise,
Will the whole world be warm as this. 
And as you feel it, you'll know it's true,
That you are blessed and lucky. 
It's true. That you are touched by something
that'll grow and bloom, you." 
-10,000 Maniacs

I have loved this song since high school. Every time I hear it it reminds me of those last few weeks of high school when we seniors felt we were on top of the world, everything was going our way, and we were unstoppable. We were achieving our goals. We were making it all happen. We knew change was upon us, but we were eager for it to come all the same. It's a bittersweet song. It's that moment you realize that it's all over, yet it was so amazing that you don't even mind it being gone by because you know you have the memories forever.

For some reason as I was uploading these pictures from our recent trip to the playground I thought of this song. It may have been the unseasonably warm December afternoon we had or the silly smiles on my babies' faces that afternoon that got me all reminiscing.

It was one of those afternoons when I was able to stop and see my kids, really see them.
I saw their silliness. 
How they laugh at everything, I mean EVERYthing around them.

I saw their zest for life. How my son races toward the playground slide as if he's never done it before,
 like it's the coolest thing EVER.
How my daughter squishes up her nose and squints her eyes like I do when I smile, 
at merely the sound of me saying, "Hi baby girl."

I saw how the world was just right for them, in this little place, down some random street, with kids around them, the sun and their mama. It was all they needed.

I started to think about my little man, who sometimes is a great big crazy man who gets cranky when tired and over excited when hungry. Who asks "why?" more times than I can count in an hour, and who wants to do it all by his self now when I beg him to hurry up to get his shoes and coat on to get out the door. I realize that he's just this little guy in there, despite how frustrating it can be sometimes raising a toddler on the verge of pre-school-land. It takes patience, oh, sooo much patience, to manage those challenging moments when he thinks he's smarter than I am. There are definitely trying moments. There are nights when I count the seconds until my husband comes home to relieve me from being on solo duty with two kids because I just need a tiny little break to breathe.

More so though, and in this moment at the playground, imagining the words to that song, realizing THESE really ARE the days I'm going to remember, want to reminisce about someday. Seeing my happy, smiley little O-Man way too big in this baby swing, screaming with laughter, asking his sister if she is having fun on her swing, and asking me to push him faster and a second later screeching that I pushed him too high and to slow him down...I'll remember only this someday when it's long gone by and he's some wicked sassy teenager.
I'll just remember this. The laughter and fun we had. Because really, what else matters?

I started to think, I want to remember this and that, too. Always.
I want to recall how little my son's feet were, and how even tinier my daughter looked next to him swinging all by herself for the first time.
I want to know what it was like that day to see my son wearing his way-too-small winter hat because he begged me to "weaaarrr thaaaaat onnnneeee mama! pleeeease!"

I want to remember how when I was pregnant with my son and a co-worker gave me the hand-knit strawberry hat, I secretly hoped I'd get a daughter to wear it someday ... and when I got my son I was overjoyed and just put away the strawberry hat for "someday." And how "someday" is here... with my little strawberry-hat-wearing daughter. And how overjoyed I am this second time around, too.

I want to soak it all up. Take it all in.
Savor it.
Keep it in a little box in my mind and corner of my heart forever, some place where the feelings of days like this sunny one at the playground won't disappear despite my son growing as tall as a kindergartener even though he's still 2 years old for a few more months, and despite my daughter getting to the other side of the first half of her first year as if in a blink of my tired eyes.

I want to always hear my son's laugh and screech of excitement as I pushed him on the swing this day.
I want to remember how little my daughter was at this moment and how I could hold her for hours and not get tired of it because she was still little enough to do that.
I want to remember when my daughter had no teeth and couldn't stand up, and my son stumbled on words like "Chris-Chris" for Christmas and how he counts "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 12, 16, 20" on some days and other days totally skips 5-10 to get to 12. 

It's just all part of motherhood. 
The remembering. The forgetting and then being reminded. 
Because our kids are growing. They are blooming, like the song says, into something spectacular.
How lucky are we to be along for the ride, to watch it happen before our eyes, and know that we are responsible for all of it?

We, who nourish and encourage and cherish our babies into becoming little people of their own, we did that.

We do that every day by being present and in the moment with our babies. By not forgetting. By trying so hard to take a snapshot in our minds of what this moment in time was like. So we can keep them little forever in our hearts. So we can know that there was a time when all our kids wanted was our attention, our hand to hold, our eyes lit up and laughing, totally focused on them. So we can hold onto this notion when the days are long and the moments are ticking by at the end of a long day. We can reach into our mind's photo album and realize it's all still there - the itty bitty baby moments, the toddler growth spurts, and the childhood of laughter we enjoyed so much.

It's all there. 
It's there for us to capture as something special if we only stop to realize it.
We just need to recognize those days when they are upon us, not when they've gone by.
We need to remind ourselves that really, it's the small, seemingly insignificant moments like these at the playground, those day-to-day endeavors that really mean the most to our children.
And then we need to hang on tight to those memories and hug our babies.
For someday soon, they won't be babies anymore.

"These are days you'll remember..."

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