A couple of days ago, when you sent Logan off for his first day of second grade, you spent most of the day crying. You were probably still a little post-partum and sleep deprived considering Elizabeth was only 11 weeks old at the time but, you were pretty emotional. You sent Jeremy text messages whining about how quickly the time went and how you couldn't believe he was already a second grader. I bet you feel silly about that now being as he's 27 and actually grown instead of a 7 year old who still needs help brushing his back teeth.
When you look back on this time in your life, I have a feeling you are going to think you didn't slow down enough. That you didn't enjoy it enough. That all of the sudden, your kids are in their 20's and their baby days went by without you noticing because you were too stressed and too tired and too busy.
Give yourself a break.
You told Logan that you were glad to be his mom and how he was your first 'baby love' every day. You stared at him lovingly from across the room and sent him a wink when he noticed you gazing. You noticed the distinct smells of elementary school on his back pack and red Kool-aid on his breath. You were patient with him when he was too excited to go to sleep the night before his first day. You packed him love notes in his lunch pail and you loved the fact that, even though he looked a little goofy, he insisted on wearing the collar on his polo shirt up because it was the first 'fashion' decision he made on his own.
You popped Brodie's toes and listened to him giggle. You made imaginary plates of food for his Red Ranger who you pretended to see and hear. You bought him 3 more t-shirts with pockets on the front when you realized how much he liked them and he didn't want to wear anything else. You made a point to tell him you loved his face every day and you kissed him every chance you got.
You nibbled on Elizabeth's cheeks and blew raspberries on her belly. You sang her songs and jumped through hoops to make her smile. You did your best to look happy for her even when it was 2 in the morning and you were so, so tired because all she wanted was to play and it wasn't her fault you had a job and two other kids.
You kissed boo-boos and cut crusts off PB and J's. You played Candy Land and Chutes & Ladders and Duck, Duck Goose. You drew with sidewalk chalk and pushed kids on swings. You made extra bubbles in the big bathtub and gave extra dessert. You let Logan pick the music in the car, Brodie pick the show on TV. You shared your ice cream, shared your coffee, shared your time. You spent too much money on Happy Meals, too much money on candy. You blew an entire paycheck once on Easter baskets and your excuse was, "But, they Neeeeeded this stuff" when Roxy frowned at the amount. You danced in the living room to Kids Bop, even though you hated it. You read Do You Do a Didgeridoo a million times, even though you hated it. You listened patiently as Logan stumbled through Green Eggs and Ham and Brodie tried to recite Baa Baa Black Sheep and you never lost your proud smile. You walked miles and miles with Elizabeth tucked in the Moby Wrap, because it was the only way she would stop crying. Because you knew that any day, she would out grow you.
I know that you might think the time went too fast. I know that you are going to be sad and wish you could go back in time and do things different. I know you are going to convince yourself that you could have taken more time to relish in the small things. I know that you are going to have the urge to tell every new mother you meet to "enjoy it while it lasts, they grow up so fast..." You might even have a daughter in law by now who is raising your grandchildren and you might want to tell her that she needs to be grateful for the years they are little.
When you have the urge to do this, I want you to remember something else.
I want you to remember that, just like those new mothers you see, you didn't always look happy about the stage you were in. You were tired. You were cranky. You were raising three kids with their endless piles of laundry and pissy sheets and temper tantrums.
And it was hard.
You did a good job, the best you knew how to do but, there were days when you just wanted them to be quiet. Where you just wanted them to grow up. Where you just wanted them to stop wailing, "Mooooooooommmmm" and learn to handle things on their own.
I want you to remember that when your mother in law came to visit, the only comment she ever made about your house being a disaster was, "yep. I remember those days..." and she kept your children entertained so you could take a nap.
Please remember that you needed help, too. That you were tired, too. That your hair was a mess all the time and you lost your temper on a daily basis. Your laundry was never caught up and your dishes were never done and you would have given just about anything for a moment of silence and a long, uninterrupted bath.
You were as human at 32 as you are at 52. You paid attention to the little things, but some of them drove you nuts.
You were a good mom and you didn't miss anything. Yes, the time seems like it went fast now but, on a random Tuesday in August of 2013 when the baby wouldn't stop crying and Brodie wanted another fruit snack and screamed for 10 minutes when you told him no and Logan forgot his carefully packed lunch pail, with the love note tucked inside, on the kitchen counter and you had to drive home to get it with black under your eyes wearing dirty yoga pants and a screaming baby in the back seat, it didn't feel fast.
It felt like it would never end.
Forgive yourself for not always being in a good mood. Forgive yourself for not always being patient. Forgive yourself for saying things like, "hurry up!" & "I've had it!" & "The next person who screams is getting sent to their room with no dinner!"
You made an effort every single day, every single moment, to be a good mom. Don't kid yourself, though. If you could go back in time and do it again, you'd probably do it pretty much the same. You'd still lose your cool sometimes, still lose your patience. You'd still light up every time you saw Elizabeth smile, still want to pull your hair out when she screamed. You'd still love to hear Brodie say, "I love you" and still hate to hear him say, "I. Don't. Want. To." You'd still tell Logan you were glad to be his mom and still come close to losing your mind when he talked back or hit his brother out of anger. Your house would still be a mess and your heart would still be full to the max with love, your brain still full of worry.
Please give yourself a pat on the back for making it out alive. Enjoy a cup of coffee while it's still hot. Watch a movie in its entirety. Have sex with Jeremy in the middle of the living room on a Saturday afternoon. Call your daughter in law and offer to come get your grand kids for the night so she can have a break. Tell her you're proud of her for still having her hair.
Tell them to go and to do and to be.
And know that you did everything just right.
32 year old Krysten