Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Long Days and Short Years

We went to visit my niece and her husband last Friday night.  They have a toddler son and they welcomed a new baby girl over the holidays.  Since we had our extended time of sickness/ infirmity around here, we hadn't seen the baby since the hospital, so we were anxious to visit. 
We walked in and took our turns holding the little bundle of joy.....listening to her grunts and the sweet coos of a newborn.....those precious, little noises that have been replaced at our house with "Shut up, you sick freak" and the like.  We all ate plastic hot dogs and hamburgers that were hot off the big brother's play grill that he'd gotten for Christmas....all of us sounding off the most convincing chorus of, "Mmmmmmm" as we ate the bogus food dressed with the bogus condiments. 

We'd pass the baby and watch her big brother go around and around in circles like a bath towel in the dryer.  You forget about that endless supply of energy that little people have....if only you could harness it some way to power the appliances. 

We patted the newborn's rear in that comforting way and walked and bounced like you do when they're getting upset, stiffening up, and turning all red.  We read "Goodnight, Construction Site", a most riveting bedtime story, and we oohed and aahed over the new big boy bed in the house.  We wiped spit up from the little chin and tried to keep that pacifier from falling out as it was finally doing the trick of keeping her happy.
You have to be on top of your game to take care of little ones.  I mean.....having to jiggle them just the right way and pretend plastic food is the best you've ever had.  They're in constant need of something.  You just don't realize how cushy you have it with your grown children until you hang out with young parents for a while. 

After the bedtime story was read around 8:00, we decided we better head on out, so they could get on with their nightly routine.  We wished them a night of as much uninterrupted sleep as possible at that stage of the game and got back in the car with our big kids......where things were much calmer and more predictable.  We were headed home to, at least, nine continual hours of glorious sleep.  Where no one would need bouncing.  Where everyone could get their own milk.  Wipe their own behinds.  Read their own books.  And where regurgitation would be a rarity.  

As soon as we cranked the car, Carson put on his red Beats in the backseat to escape my iPod that was shuffling the 70's and 80's through the car speakers and Blair was back there texting.  The only way we could be sure they hadn't fallen out of the car was the soft, blue glow coming from the back.....and the tapping of Carson's fingers to the beat, the keyboard clicks from Blair's phone, and a request for a stop at the drive-thru for milkshake. 

I remember the days that our niece is living.  It's a wonderfully trying time.  The joy and pride, but the sleep deprivation.  The cuddling, but the colic.  The first smile, but those loose diapers.  The curious eyes, but the first shots.  Being center of their world, but the day and night mix-up.  The bonding, but those bulb syringes full of who knows what.
Those are days that seem to have no end.  Each day, there is only one get through the next 24 hours alive.  The days pass slowly when someone in the house wants to eat every other hour and poop every hour in between.    

But, those long years in survival mode eventually give way to the school years.  I think of it like the slow climb of the roller coaster just before it tops the hill and starts speeding out of control.....when the first day of school seems like it comes about 5 days after the last day of school and Spring Break....just a couple of weeks after that....tops.  Kindergarten blurs into the fourth grade.....don't blink during the fifth through eighth grades......and the ninth grade.....well, you might as well buckle up because it's the fast track to graduation.  Whew!  The circling years cause dizzy mothers to sometimes stammer at the question, "What grade is your child in now?"   "Um....uh....ok......I know this......give me a minute."

In the blizzard of baseball games, book reports, dance classes, tests, PTA, algebra, and birthday parties, the years start to pile up faster than.................well, Diaper Genie sausages. 

Before you know it, they're in the backseat in their big boy pants tuning you out.

So, enjoy the slow days while you can, young parents.  They're awfully long.....but so, so precious.     






  1. A beautifully written post Joni. Tugs at my heart because its so true. Yes, enjoy those early years, because they do go fast. Kathleen in Az

  2. Wise and true... as a mom of three and now grammy of one, I'll pass this along to my daughter (who will nod and smile at me just like I did to grammys who said something similar to me). Love this post and every other one!

  3. yes, friend. as my soon-to-be 24-yr-old (& yes i did use a calculator to figure his age) just drove off with a gun in his truck to go duck hunting, i thought to myself "how did this happen that he's old enough to do that?"
    embracing every season is the goal ~ after survival of course. :) thanks for this.

    1. I'm glad you had a calculator close by, Tracey! Are you sure you shouldn't have gone with him.....I mean, just to be sure? :) I'm trying to focus on the perks along the way.....there's good stuff at every stop. Thanks, Tracey.