We've been reminiscing a lot lately. Not sure why, other than my husband has set up an Instagram account purely to embarrass the children. So, photograph after photograph on when they were small keep appearing on my feed. It's beautiful, really, and such a delight to see my three pop up when I'm least expecting, but not as they are now ... as babies, as toddlers and it literally makes me cry every time!
So, why the tears? Why not smiles or joy? Because, if I'm really honest with myself, I've forgotten so much about when they were young. Oh don't get me wrong ... I remember just how bloody infuriating it could be ... I remember the sleepless nights, the overwhelming tiredness, the physical and mental drain of balancing three children and a career but I've forgotten 'Them' and who 'They' used to be. The featured photo on this post is the day we brought our little boy home from hospital (he's now 12) ... and I have zero recollection of that day ... where do those memories go? How remotely fair is that?
Now, before anyone says I'm ageing and it's my memory loss kicking in, I'm not that old. Yes, it was a while ago ... but why so forgotten? Why so hard to recall? But it got me thinking ... if I could just go back for a day and spend it with those children in the photograph what would I do?
... do you know what? I wouldn't do one iota of flippin' cleaning ... that is totally overrated ... I wouldn't iron one shirt. I wouldn't shout, wouldn't get mad, wouldn't lose the will to live as one toddler throws a toy at the other. I would be calm, I would be chilled. I wouldn't lose it at fingers smearing food over white walls, or tongues licking window panes. I would enjoy, I would stop and play ... actually enjoy being bossed around by the toddler that I've got to say this and got to say that in the magic horse game for 27 hours!
... instead of stressing at bath and teatime I would be thankful. I would happily chase them naked around the house (them not me!) instead of moaning "GET IN THE BATH, THIS IS NOT A GAME." Happily turn the bathroom into a water park and sing their favourite nursery rhyme over and over ... and over and over ... happy in the knowledge that they won't want me to do this forever ... and, believe me, they don't.
... just to sit with them, engage with their gorgeous little faces, to hear them giggle those toddler little giggles, to smell my son's newborn head, to see all that promise in their eyes of what's to come, to embrace myself fully in their total adoration ... to bank that memory so I can recall it again when I see an old picture ... because all I'm doing now is grasping at half forgotten memories trying to make sense of it all
... but the tears aren't just for forgotten memories ... they are for realising just how damn quick it goes. Oh, I love the little adults they have become but I wish I'd realised then just how lucky I was to have three such beautiful little children ... because, honestly, the three little faces staring out of the title photo are unrecognisable to me, in a way. It scares me, too, as I worry that the stage my children are at now will be forgotten also as the chores and routine take over from the actual enjoyment of them.
So ... a message to you all on this somewhat more reflective post, hug them a little longer, stop worrying about the crap ... because it is crap ... do more of what you enjoy ... and if you don't enjoy singing nursery rhymes, playing bloody role play after role play with a toddler, it really isn't forever ... go on, sing it one more time, be the magic horse or whoever your toddler insists kindly asks you to be ... just one more time ... enjoy it ... and bank those memories ... and I promise to sit with my teens ... give them my undivided attention ... everything else can wait because, in reality, the future won't ... just saying.