The days are long but the years are short.
These are the very wise words passed along to me years ago by an experienced mom in the midst of my post-partum sleepless nights and endless crying jags (mine and baby’s). These words were food for thought when my babies were small as I knew one day they would ring true, but my life was far too filled with the daily neediness of my baby to truly relate. I remember feeling overwhelmed with being “touched out” and wanting nothing more than 15 minutes where all I needed to think about was ME.
The meaning of this quote hit me so unexpectedly.
Well, those days are long gone. They faded away slowly and quietly. In fact, I barely noticed. As time went by I rarely thought about the eternal length of days I experienced staying home with my babies. My days were now busy with business and carpooling and extra curriculars. Occasionally my husband and I would exclaim with wonder, “They are so grown up!” or “Where did the time go?” But soon we would be on to the next thing, enjoying our children as they grew.
And then last week it all changed. The meaning of this quote hit me so unexpectedly.
It was the day I dropped my firstborn, my baby boy, off at High School. The day I sat in the car and watched him enter the oversized doors to his father’s alma mater. Suddenly I realized. Suddenly it hit me that every day for the past 14 years I have been investing in this wonderful human being. I have been nurturing and guiding and loving so that he can grow and thrive and love all on his own. Suddenly as I watched him tall and confident disappear through those doors I felt it in my whole being, the years are short.
I get it. I feel it. I know it. The intensity of motherhood is overwhelming but it is really so short lived.
Later that week when I dropped my niece off at her second day of JK I cried like she was mine. Actually, I cried more than I ever did for my own. I cried because for my sister and for all of the other moms and dads watching their “big” girls and boys make this mammoth step toward independence, the days for them are still very long. But I knew the truth. As I watched these amazing little people run excitedly or pull away hesitantly towards this milestone I knew where it was headed. I knew that in a flash, in a few short years, it would be their babies walking into High School and on toward the rest of their lives.