This afternoon I took the kids for a "walk" to run out some of their energy before bedtime. Kevin was out of town for a conference, so I was solo with the kids and bedtime was beginning to seem really far away with their level of energy. I set them loose and walked behind with Knox. Watching them, I was in awe of how quickly they are growing up. The below pics are them both at 7 months.
When I realize how much they've grown, there's a sense of sadness about it. That's new for me. I'll be honest, up until this point, I've mostly been surviving. I've been wishing they would grow up faster. Don't get me wrong, I love and enjoy my kids, but more often than not I've just been trying to make it through the day. Now, I find days like today (when I'm counting down til bedtime) are more the exception than the rule. I know that there will still be hard days (and seasons), but I finally feel like I've reached a really sweet spot with them where I'm enjoying them SO much. They make me laugh like crazy and I probably give them 20 hugs and kisses a day because I'm just so in awe of how amazing they are. I'm living comfortably in the tension of knowing that they're growing up and wanting to keep them small and then wishing that Knox would grow up a little more. Having a needy baby helps me to appreciate how Anna and Owen are growing up, but having rapidly growing kids helps me to appreciate having a needy baby. Know what I mean? It's been a real gift.
Mom's with grown children are always quick to tell you, "Enjoy every moment! They grow up so fast!" That's never been super encouraging to me. I know that they mean well. I know that in the blink of an eye my kids will be grown, but right now - in this season - those words just make me feel guilty about NOT enjoying every moment. I mean, really, is it realistic to enjoy every minute?? Should I really enjoy cleaning up the yogurt they used as finger paint? Should I enjoy dragging a crying toddler through a public place mid-tantrum? Should I enjoy potty training? Of course not. But I can embrace those moments for what they are. Training ground. Necessary but hard moments that create a much better story when seen as a whole. It's been my experience that these hard moments are the ones that help me to truly enjoy the really great moments - or even the everyday, small victories. I don't feel a sense of loss over the many days that I've wished away, but I am trying to rest more in the present. I want to enjoy my kids the way they are now, but I don't want to cling to these days so tightly that I don't know what to do with myself when they grow up. These ARE special days.