Usually, this approach works well during parenthood because living in the here and now means that tomorrow is another new day. Another day to wipe the slate clean and start over, preferably with all the kitchen dishes done, right? Another day to work on manners and chores and being a good human being. Another day to impose my values upon my children, whether they like it or not.
Yes, living in the here and the now means that we all get a do-over. And it also means that whatever horribly awful thing you just experienced (like opening the screen door to discover 5 salted slug carcasses) will be gone tomorrow (hopefully).
Tomorrow also means that your kids will be another day older. Another day farther away from babyhood and the days when your touch (and maybe a binky) was all they needed to soothe their bad mood. Now it's anyones guess.
At least around here it is.
I never know what to expect with each new day. I can observe the lunar cycles, check how many days it is until a birthday, anticipate certain things, but I can't predict my children's moods. I can't tell them that if they are a good person, honest and fair, that it will all be okay...because now they're old enough to know that isn't always the case.
Except for the six year-old...she still believes most of what I say.
I can't protect them from everything. I can't follow them everywhere they go. They are growing up, much too quickly. Part of me is proud, happy and glad that independence has replaced the constant need for help but when I find myself asking them (particularly the older one) for advice on how to navigate my cell phone or to help with a chore, I want to run and hide in the closet, rock back and forth and repeat "they're still my babies, they're still my babies" until I've finally convinced myself that it must be true. They're still my babies.
And now with my youngest in school ALL DAY LONG, I find myself vacant. Lost. Alone.
My mom says to enjoy, to take a 4 hour long bubble bath. I'm sure that one of these days that will appeal to me but for now I only feel like taking out their baby books and reading about when they first ate rice cereal, their first words, first steps. . .
Because in the blink of an eye. . .
When I was tucking Katie in bed last week she grabbed my cheeks and asked me to say something. I thought she was being sweet. Turns out, she was trying to get me to make a funny face...typical. But after that, I hugged her tight and asked her if she'd always be my baby.
"Of course I will." She answered. "But I'm gonna grow mom . . . and change too. But I'll always be your baby. Even when I'm OLD."
She's pretty smart, for a first grader.