When my babies were little, it felt like the days melted into one another and the clock seemed to be stuck. The diapers, feedings, crying (mostly me, sometimes them), teething, sleep issues, and constant reinforcement of rules was exhausting. I lived those days for so long. But I cherished them because they grew me. For all the parents like me out there, it feels like recounting old war stories when we think back to the days of Roseola and not getting through a meal without four thousand interruptions. But those days etched away at my selfishness and refined my vision. They allowed me to see the beauty of chubby dimpled hands gripping mine for stability, to hear the intoxicating sound of a child’s laughter, and to feel like the biggest winner in the world when that small person called me mama.
At some point, though, the clock started to move. I can’t pinpoint the moment that it started gaining speed, but I feel the intensity of each day. I must soak it up, it is fleeting. In one more semester, I will have a high school graduate. My firstborn son will take a confident leap out of the nest that I have built and protected for eighteen years. I will try with everything I have in me to not hang onto his legs as he tries to jump out of said nest.
I am navigating the world of varsity sports, girlfriends, and giving freedom away inch by inch. It feels as though I am walking a very fine line with all of these things. I say too much, I don’t say enough. I am too exuberant, I hold back. Do the friends like me? Do I like the friends? Is it ok to run out onto the court and hug my child when he doesn’t seem to be in the zone? Just kidding, I know better than that! In the same way the early years of parenting didn’t come with a manual, these years don’t either. I am quite literally faking it until I make it.
While I may not always have baggies in the house for school lunches, the uniforms may not always make it through the wash before the next game, and I can’t remember the last time I served fruit, I know that I am so incredibly lucky to witness these years. There are so many beautiful souls that reach the end of their lives too soon and they miss this stuff. I am confident that one day I will look back on these years too and find that they have changed me for the better. And hopefully I will have learned how to give myself a little grace, so that when my son asks me not to keep throwing out the “HANG LOOSE” sign during his basketball games, I will laugh and decide that someday he will thank me for just being at his games.
Life is a dance. It is hearing the music, being aware of the other dancers, and knowing that the music will someday end. As long as I’m on the floor dancing, I will embrace the chaos, hold on tightly to my dance partner, and continue to beg for one more song. Life is short, it is beautiful, it is painful, and it is complicated. But it is a total waste if we don’t know how to spend it. Tonight, I raise my glass of water to life. Live it well, my friends…no matter what stage of it you are at. If you have breath, you have life. And if you have life, the music is still playing. If the music is still playing, get on out and twerk it like there’s no tomorrow!
Love and joy, friends!