My mind has been overwhelmed lately with the speed at which time flies. I feel I do a pretty good job in staying in the moment. I work hard to soak up everything happening at each stage/time of life. But nonetheless, time dances along and I wonder if I could have done more to capture everything.
When my oldest son was 2 1/2, our family was joined by another boy and a girl. 3 kids under the age of 3 was hard work to say the least. I slept more in a rocking chair than my own bed, changed more diapers than washed dishes, ate more mushy puréed baby food than “real” food, my social life was watching Winnie the Pooh and the highlight of the week was getting out for grocery shopping.
5 years later I was volunteering on 3 committees, helped out at the kids school, teaching part time, spent every evening of the week plus some weekends at the skating rink with hockey or figure skating and had added another child to the crew. Time at home was a scarce commodity.
The double digits years (for the older 3) was a time of more independence for them and me. Still there were lots of commitments but the kids could clean, helped with jobs at the farm and make simple suppers. A bit of breathing room in the schedule. Running and biking for me occurred more consistently. We tackled more home and yard improvements.
The past 5 years have been the launching years for the older 3 kids. Time to spread their wings. We have been to 5 different cities to date as their studies have moved them. Helping move, clean, cook. But mostly offering support and encouragement as they handle the steep learning curve of dealing with adult life on their own. Some hard knocks for them. A lot of joy watching them come into themselves; taking part of their growing up years with us and combining that with their each unique personality to discover the things they love, believe in and figuring out how they will pursue life. Letting them go and keeping myself restrained to not calling or texting continually has been pretty tough. I don’t think I was ready for this to happen, but in truth, I am not sure I would ever be.
The youngest child just completed her first year of university. 2 of the older 3 are getting married this summer. They are choosing to spend their time with extraordinary people and I am bursting with happiness for them as this is the start of another part of life. I am so very happy our family is growing! But I am reminiscing the trips and time alone with each one of my children and I know that time may be passed now or at least morph into something else.
We are also in the stage of life where aging parents need us more. Health problems and trips to the city for appointments started about 7-8 years ago. The past 2 years have been about extended stays in the hospital, paneling for long term care facilities, learning a lot about Alzheimer's and worst of all; funeral planning. Aging is part of life just like birth just like death. We teach, support and provide for our kids, like our parents did for us, so they will grow up and be able to do this on their own. Everything is happening how life is supposed to go.
I just never realized how much I would miss the little things. How tough it would be to roll with the changes of life.
It took effort to remember challenges from each stage of our growing family. It is true that the good time seems to completely overshadow the hard times.
I remember the sweetness of the sleeping baby on my shoulder, little knees pulled up, head nestled into me and the amazing sweet smell of baby. I remember playing “farm” on the floor for hours with the boys with little tractors and implements and playing house with the girls with Dora and Polly pockets. The years of outdoor hockey in the winter, soccer and hitting pop flies in the summer. The many camping adventures with the 6 of us in the tent, sharing stories, the best part of that day for everyone and then planning the next days excursion. Calling my mother in law on the phone and hearing her special way of saying "hello".
We now are operating as a family of 9 rather than 6. We are blessed beyond measure.
I remind myself daily of how blessed I am because for whatever reason the floodgate of memories of time gone past constantly assault my memory. I don’t want to get nostalgic and weepy but I do want to acknowledge these wonderful memories. We have lost quite a few aging extended family members this past year as well as my mother in law. My father in law’s Alzheimer’s has since progressed more rapidly to the point of conversation being very challenging and I mourn that he is now unable to remember the fond events of his past, or of having a conversation that makes sense and I am already mourning the day when he won't recognize us. 3 of the remaining 4 parents/step parents have huge physical issues. It has been interesting sending the kids out where they need us less and dealing with our parents who are needing us more.
So what is the point of my walk down memory lane? A reminder to myself to really enjoy every moment. We are reminded daily in the lyrics of songs, death and tragedy and the turning of the calendar pages that life is short. We know this to be true but our actions don’t always show this. I need to stop deluding myself that there will always be another time for whatever it is that is happening. There is a last time for everything. The last diaper, cuddling with a book on your lap, riding with training wheels,
No matter how old my children are, how busy my life is, how overwhelming things sometimes feel, I want to live fully and completely.
Do not wish time away.
Embrace the big and small moments of life.