Sunday, January 20, 2008

freezing time

The other day I finally got myself (and my two at-home-during-the-day kids) to the mall for some post-Christmas returns and exchanges. It wasn't fun. The girls were doing all kinds of acrobatics on the stroller and poor Claire had hurt her knee on the trampoline the day before and kept whining that she couldn't walk. So as I carried her through the mall in one arm while trying to contort my other arm enough to successfully maneuver my stroller laden with bags and a chunky baby, I noticed a mother with a new little baby...maybe a month old. He was fussy and she was trying to comfort him while maneuvering her stroller too. Oh I wanted to just ask her if I could hold him and snuggle him for a little bit. I wished I had my old Baby Bjorn to hand over to her. I could never go to the mall without it when I had babies that little. And then the thought of having my tiny snuggling babies right next to me while I did my daily tasks started eating at me. How they looked when they were sleeping, how they smelled, how they sighed in their sleep, and yes, even their sweet little newborn cries. Baby hunger crept in. "How could those days have passed so quickly??!" I asked myself in awe as I looked at my own crying "baby" and her whimpering sister side-kick.

And then a thought struck me. A few years from now I'll be roaming the mall and all my kids will be in school. I know, I know, it will be nice. It'll seem so free and strange in a good way. But, at that moment in the mall this week I realized that on that day in the future when I'm wandering the mall all fancy-free, there's no doubt I'll run into my double self from this week. She'll be wrestling with her toddlers with a frustrated look on her face, assuring them that they're almost done with the errands of the day. And oh will I ever wish I could go back, at least for a little while, and slow life down while I snuggle those kids up and kiss their chubby cheeks off. I'll try to envision them as their little selves climbing on me and whining and needy, and I'll probably tear up a little just like I am right now because I'll miss those little people. I know the bigger form of my little people will we wonderful. I can't wait to "meet" them and grow with them. But I just realized this week, once again, how much I need to cherish this time, right now, right here...snotty noses, whiny faces, dramatics and all that craziness in one great big package in a bow. Because when I blink they'll be all grown up.
baby Max vs. grown-up Max...Where did all that time go?Our first Christmas card. I just blinked and here we are with five kids.

8 comments:

  1. amen to everything you just said there. that is why i keep feeling like i want natalie to be a tiny baby forever. that is why i was excited when she rolled over for the first time, but inside i was crying at the same time. at least i know i'm not done having kids. when it's my last i just might cry at every new thing they do. i'm sure lucy is getting heavy, but maybe she's not walking cause she knows your not ready for it.

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  2. AWWW! You are making me baby-hungry! I know that feeling well though, when you see a new mom with a baby and you just want to help her. Sweet flashback pic!

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  3. Shawni, I think this EVERY time I nurse. I listen to those little sighs and get sad that he is probably my last. Every time I pull Henry out of bed, I want to nuzzle him tighter, hoping just maybe it will stunt his growth! I am excited for the big kid phase, but also sad to see his crazy baby phase end. nd I'm with you on trying to enjoy it all. I don't want them to grow up and feel like I missed anything.

    Loved the pictures, too.

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  4. You can come to Oregon this summer and cuddle my baby! Thanks for the reminder to enjoy every minute of it. We're so excited to start that fun journey. One day I'll be looking back the same way.
    -Annie

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  5. It does feel like we blinked and things jumped. Well said about seeing yourself in other young mothers. I am not looking forward to the days of freedom...they are just daunting to me.

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  6. I'm off to snuggle my little ones after reading that!!

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  7. Totally Agree!!! I wish we could figure out a way to freeze our children. Love how you put all those mom thoughts into such eloquent words.

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  8. this was a hard one for me to read. sweet pictures.

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