Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Missing Them Now -- By Laura Houston

It will go something like this: 15 years from now I will open a drawer or a cabinet door and the little yellow piece to the boy’s puzzle ball will fall out. I will stop breathing the moment it hits the floor and lands at my feet. “This stupid piece,” I will think. “I searched for it everywhere -- under the radiator covers, in the couch cushions, and in the toy chest over and over again.”

Maybe I won’t recall my frustration about hunting down that damn little gold star, because 15 years from now I won’t remember the diapers and the whining and the constant “go” of motherhood. The boys will be off and school, and I will be alone in the house that they will soon be leaving when they go off to college. I’ll pick up that piece of missing plastic, and I’ll feel as lost as it has been all of this time.

They say it goes by so fast. It doesn’t feel that way most days. Especially this winter when I have been trapped inside with them on so many long, endless, boring days. Yes. That’s right. I said boring. Sometimes I find motherhood boring. Not often. But here in New York City where getting anywhere with two toddlers is a pain in the ass, I tend to give in and stay inside rather than face the freezing wind and icy playgrounds. After their naps, we go into the living room where I lie on the rug and watch the sun move across the floor while the boys fight over a toy, and I work hard to stay in the moment. I practice patience. I tell myself I won’t be here forever.

I want to stay present now so when that moment happens 15 years from now, I can survive it. But it’s not easy. Sometimes I find the afternoons to be so long I have to set the egg timer in the kitchen for 20 minutes, and in that 20 minutes I do not check email, talk on the phone or watch TV. I read to the boys. I breakup fights. I hunt for that damn gold puzzle piece that Lyle whines about daily.

I get that this is precious. Motherhood. Its sweetness. I know. I recognize I am sometimes frittering it away watching TV or reading CNN on my iPhone. I think the one gift being an older mother gives me is I understand how quickly time passes. I value time over all things. I’d rather have time than money. And the reason I want time is so I can spend it with these two little guys who genuinely like me and depend on me for all things. So I will fight my bad habits, my distractions, my additions to electronics. And I shall stay in the moment and start missing them right now.


Blogger Cara Meyers said...

Ahh parenthood...so achingly slow yet flys by so quickly. And as Mothers, we vacillate between wanting our kids to just grow out of certain stages while relish those few, fleeting, precious moments. Like my son hugging me as hard as he could this morning before he went to school, even though he was running late. I wanted to stay in that moment forever...

6:27 AM  
Blogger Robin Gorman Newman said...

So tender Laura. I can fully relate. Seth just turned 8, and he is already such a big boy in many ways. I had him trying on summer clothes to see what fits and what we might giveaway, and it made me achingly aware of his steady growth physically, emotionally and intellectually and how he'll one day be his own person, and my job will mostly be done. Staying in the moment with gratitude is an ongoing challenge. And, I hear ya re: losing pieces (wait until they get into Legos). To this day, there are things from his toddler days I can't find in the house. I'm guessing that one day when I'm an empty nester they will rear their head, and I'll remember when......

9:09 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

The exact mix of how I feel about this time of life with my 2 year-old. However, the problem of losing myself in my phone apps has been eroded by my daughter's discovery that she can watch an endless supply of Elmo and Sesame Street clips on it via You Tube! Any time I try to sneak a peak at my e-mail or FB, she asks to "see Elmo, please?" Which turns out to actually be a great compromise, as she likes to snuggle in my lap for it, so I can even zone out for little bits of time. We do have to limit the screen time, though.

1:36 PM  

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