I remember when I was a young Mom, feeling as if some days just lasted forever.
I remember hot, hot summer days, the ones where I was home alone with all three kids. I can clearly picture myself looking at the clock after having cooked, served and cleaned up breakfast, broken up two fights, done a load of laundry, swept the floor and helped to make four beds.
I remember it like it was yesterday, glancing up at the kitchen clock and thinking, “Damn! The battery must have run down. No WAY it’s only 9:15 in the morning!!!!”
I remember being wrong. It was, in fact, early morning and I had many, many hours ahead of me.
At the age of 35, that was not a pleasant realization. I remember the way that those days seemed to tick by with each second taking longer than the one before it.
I just wanted to get to dinner time, to have Dad home, to get everyone into bed and to Go. To. Sleep.
But now I’m older and wiser.
I’ve made more than a few journeys around the sun on this old planet. Now those long, long days have a whole different feel to me.
I’ll give you an example.
Yesterday was one of the very few gorgeous fall days that New England has experienced this year. It was breezy, cool, bright and perfectly sunny. The sky was a deeply calming blue, with cartoonishly puffy white clouds drifting slowly by. The leaves were gently twirly and falling through the soft air.
The kids wanted to go outside, so outside we went. Coats on, mittens slipped over reluctant thumbs, sneakers firmly attached to feet, out we went. All three of us stopped on the front step, breathing in the clean, clean air.
Ellie, our three year old explosion of joy, threw out her arms, twirled on the wet grass and crowed, “I am Elsa and Anna and we are so so happy!!!!” Little 16 month old Johnny looked up at me with a drooly grin and chortled, “aha!!!!”
They ran, they jumped, they picked up leaves, they screamed at the pure pleasure of jumping into puddles.
I was happy that they were happy, but to be honest, I was also tired. Nonni here has been fighting off a strangely lingering throat infection, and sleep has been eluding me. So as we walked down the driveway and splashed in every puddle, there was a piece of me that kept thinking, “Is it time to go in? Is it time for nap?”
I wanted to lie down.
Then I remembered those long, long days of my children’s past. I remembered the yearning I felt for bedtime.
I stood there, watching the kids play. And I looked up at that sky and watched those swirling, dying leaves.
And it occurred to me that I don’t have as many days to wish away as I did all those years ago. How many more fall days do I have left out there? How many times will I stand in the glorious sunshine watching two beautiful, happy, beloved children dancing with joy in front of me?
I pulled in a breath, smelling the wood smoke of my neighbor’s chimney, the wet, earthy musk of the decaying leaves, the sharp pungency of the pine trees around us. I looked at the kids, both jumping in the mud, both grinning, sharing a moment of pure bliss with each other.
Life is short. And every year it gets shorter.
If one of my days stretches out and takes forever to pass, well, that can only be a good thing. Now I’m old enough to know that a day like this is a blessing unsought.
Let all of my life slow itself down and take its time to pass.
And may I have many more days to simply stand there, motionless, watching beautiful children at play.