Time flies so fast.
You hear people say it. I heard parents say it when I didn't have kids and I thought yeah, whatever. Time surely wasn't flying for me!!
Enter James, enter marriage, enter Gracie, enter Ian. In two and a half years time I went from a single care-free single chick who gallivanted off to Europe with friends on a whim to a married mother of two babies with a mortgage. Whew!!!!
And now I know exactly what those parents, the people whose children I cared for, the sweet old ladies who said "enjoy it, the time goes by so fast" were talking about.
Gracie is about to be 5. FIVE!!!!!!! How on earth did that happen? Seriously. It just doesn't seem possible that 5 years have gone by since that crazy day she was born. I sent out invitations to her party the other day and it's just been hitting me so hard this time. Five. That's huge. That's half way to 10. 1/4th the way to 20. We are already 25% done with the time we will probably have with her living under our roof. THAT CAN'T BE POSSIBLE!!!!! She has officially outgrown all toddler clothing and has moved to the size small in the girls department at Target. Holy crap!! She writes her name. She's learning to read. She can add and she speaks spanish. She swims under water. She's passionate, intense, loving and kind. She is her own person. How did that happen?
This also means I'll be 35 this year. What in the heck?? When people ask me how old I am I always think 28 in my mind, then I have to do the math to figure it out. I was 28 when I got married. It's like time stopped in my mind when that happened, maybe because I had waited so freaking long for my Mr. Right. It seems like that was yesterday and yet we are going to celebrate 7 years this fall. Insane!!!
Then there's Ian. He is 3 now. That seems even less possible than the fact that Gracie is about to be 5. It seems like I was snuggling his tiny fuzzy head just last week. Now we are done with baby stuff. All of it. We are done with diapers, training pants, little potties and night-time accidents. We are done with baby talk. We are done with nursing. There are no baby toys, no strollers, no child-proofing gear. He's into cars and trucks and Buzz Light year. He uses the word actually properly and in context. He can tell stories. How on earth did my baby get old enough to tell stories??
Time really does fly so fast.
I wish I could capture it. I wish I could put it in a bottle and take it out and taste it every once in awhile. We have tons of pictures but that's not enough. I want to remember the sticky hands around my neck, when they squeeze me with a hug so hard that they shake. Running my fingers through their hair. Laying all on top of me to watch a movie. Whispering to me "I love you mama". Hearing them sing, laugh, giggle, play and even fight. Watching Ian get mad can actually be very entertaining!
I can't believe the baby stage is over. I longed for it for so long. In the moment it was exhausting, frustrating and sometimes just terrible. But it was also wonderful, sweet and oh so short. I'm glad we're on to a new stage, I love learning with them, exploring with them, seeing them understand things. It's just really hard to believe that so much time has already passed.
Hug those babies when you have them. Hold them when they cry, comfort them when they need you, put yourself aside for those few short years. They really are short even if in the moment it seems like it will never end. You won't regret being selfless. And then, one day not so long from now you'll be telling new mothers, "enjoy it while it lasts, time flies so fast."