The day after my kids started school, my son proclaimed that he had a wiggly tooth. He was so excited! His eyes were wide and he smiled as he wiggled his tooth for me to see. I was happy for him because I knew he was elated that he was becoming a big kid. Inside I couldn’t help but feel a little emotional. My baby really is becoming a big kid. I gave him a huge hug, and I answered all his questions about the tooth fairy.
Three days later, he lost his little wiggly baby tooth. A true physical representation of the fact that he is growing bigger each day. Every time he smiles that fabulous little kid smile, I can’t help but reminisce on how fast five years has just flown by. It’s a reminder for me to slow down during the hectic days and really see my children every day. Not to take out my phone and post a quick picture on social media for everyone to see, but for me to take that mental snapshot of my children in this very moment. To be present and to really take them in for a second.
As our kids grow, we know this is happening all along. They’re hitting major learning milestones, they’re growing out of clothes and shoes non-stop. Their understanding of the world around them increases, as well as their ability to articulate this. One day we’re changing poopy diapers and the next they’re reading books by themselves.
Over the past year, I’ve been learning to slow down. I used to have everything neat and tidy before we could all have time to cuddle in between dinner and bedtime. I had to accomplish everything on the to-do list for the day before I felt at ease. After the kids started preschool last year, I realized that the dishes can wait. Time together cannot. Don’t get me wrong, we all still clear the table together, put plates and cups in the dishwasher and tidy up before bedtime, but it doesn’t feel as stressful anymore. The bulk of the dishes can wait until the morning. We can clean the house together when we get back from the beach. The need to be perfect and have my s#!t together 24/7 has faded.
I want to enjoy the day and all the cuddles, games, or sharing of stories that I can now because the next five years will surely go as quickly as the last ones have. Not every day is how I planned. Some days, I don’t want to answer the billions of questions five year olds come up with. (Seriously, two 5year olds come up with a LOT of questions!)
I need to appreciate the moments that we get to play together, cuddle and read or watch movies together. The days go by so quickly now. As much as I wish that they would slow down and stop growing, I’ve learned that it’s me that needs to slow down and appreciate the moments in life for what they are.