Even Still, Hug Them -
The window of opportunity to do it freely shrinks day by day
As a mom of three boys, all under ten, believe me - I know what tired looks and feels like. Between working full time, 'mom-ing' full time, soccer practice, sincere attempts at creativity for dinner (even though hotdogs for the fifth time this month seems a lot less stressful), nothing can be more annoying at the end of a long day than that one, measly toy in the middle of the living room that you've picked up thirteen times already since making it home.
I get it. I talk to a wall daily, too (three walls, actually).
Endless piles of clothes; pee sprinkles on the toilet seat like it's a giant cupcake; conversations with your few close friends via Facebook Messenger because the house is either too loud to actually be on the phone or, the more realistic reason, you just don't have time to stop for a second to actually use it. I mean it never fails, right? That one moment you get to actually slip out of your work clothes and pee would be the same moment your kid decides that Sunny D looks better all over the floor than in their cup.
If you asked my kids what my favorite lines are to them when they know they've driven me all the way up the wall, they gladly put their acting skills on display and say something like: "Sit down somewhere!" "I'm not going to repeat myself again!" – Oh, yeah. The 'Queen of Scream' makes her appearance frequently in my house. Free entertainment at the expense of my psyche *insert upside down smiling face emoji*.
But then my kids will do something that reminds me of why all this madness has been so worth it for the last ten years of my life. They'll hug me. Yep, that's all it takes - just one little hug. Okay, honest moment - sometimes they piss me off to the point where I don't always feel like hugging back. But, even still - I hug them, because I know that the window of opportunity to do it freely is shrinking day by day.
My soon-to-be ten-year-old has now reached that pivotal moment in life when it is only acceptable to be embraced privately. I've gone from 'mommy' to 'mom' overnight and my mouth kisses have been replaced by lips-tucked-in, on-the-cheek kisses. The same boy who used to hang like a monkey around my neck is no longer very interested in doing so, and I don't like that one bit. Obviously, I knew this day was going to come at some point but now that it’s here, I find myself asking whether or not I did enough when he was smaller to show him how much I love him and his embraces and that he does not need to feel like that is something he should outgrow.
It’s no secret that parenting can be tough, physically, mentally, and emotionally. There will be days when you tell yourself out of frustration that you can’t wait for the day that your feet no longer seem to find every tiny Lego that blends in with the carpet or when you get to stop collecting those half-sipped water bottles from around the house. But, if we’re honest, these are those small daily reminders of how quickly time seems to slip through the cracks in between our fingers. So, hug your babies. Hold them. Tickle their hands. Rub their feet. Tell them how much you love them, even when you don't like them very much. Embrace the daily wreckage caused by little bodies running up and down because someday soon, that circus tent you're living in now will be far too clean and too quiet and you will miss it.