Not too long ago I was scrambling around my kitchen trying to wrap my head around what I still had left to do on what seemed to be a never-ending list of important tasks: make lunches, check homework, wash dishes, find the ankle brace my daughter needed for practice the next day, throw one last load of laundry in the machine, let the dogs out and clean up that big pile of mess that was once my kitchen table (because I KNOW something is there that someone will need before 8am tomorrow). It was already well after 10:00 pm and just when I was about to go into full melt-down mode, my mom casually walked into the kitchen and asked if she could help. That triggered the all-too-common 10 minute rant that I am famous for giving in my house when I'm stressed and want help but feel better yelling about not having it. These special outbursts are usually reserved for my husband, who at the time was somewhere else in the house, so I made sure I yelled loud enough for him to hear. Expecting my mom to say something to validate my feelings and maybe even tell me I should start wearing a cape and insist my kids and husband start calling me some really cool superhero name, I paused long enough for her to respond. Then she said it: "You're going to miss this". I immediately thought to myself, wait, that's it? That's all you have for me?! Isn't that a country song or something? You are a mother and wife too - back me up a little bit!
My mom and I are very close and always have been. Beyond our mother-daughter relationship, we have forged a resilient friendship. Over the years, I have used my bond with my mom as the platform for building a solid, trusting relationship with both of my daughters. So, with that in the back of my mind, I calmed down and let her finish. Most parents have likely all had a similar conversation with relatives or friends who have already raised kids, and the main point of those conversations is usually to enjoy it now, because children grow up fast. I've heard it before myself, many, many times. But my thinking has always been how can 18 years go by that fast or have you seen the detailed, ten page vacation plan I have been pouring my heart and soul into since my youngest started pre-school?
So yes, I've had this talk before, but this particular night, when the conversation was over, I took some time to reflect on my two daughters. The truth is my kids aren't "little" anymore. As an 8th grader and a 5th grader, they have just entered their last year of middle school and elementary school, respectively. I have to check my 13 year old's social calendar before I schedule anything and my 10 year old recently informed me that she no longer wants to dress up for Halloween. Wasn't it just this year that she forced me to answer the "is Santa Claus real" question truthfully? So in a sense my "little" girls are a memory, but I am seeing two beautiful, amazing young ladies today. And yes, some day I WILL miss the constant laughter, music and witty one-liners from my girls that I hear every day in our house. I will miss it terribly. Do I still feel overwhelmed with life's daily tasks? Yes. But I know my mom's words were spoken with good intentions, from one mother to another, from one friend to another, and I think of them every time I could use a little help.