I was having lunch with a friend the other day, listening to her talk about how much her kids had grown and how she couldn’t believe that summer is almost over. And then she said this, “I can’t believe that I only have 6 mores summers with him.” I stopped chewing my delicious artichoke tomato chicken as the sad reality of that phrase sunk deep into my mind. If she only has 7 more summers with him, then I only have 5 more with her. Five more summers until she’s 18. FIVE! I still have more time with my little ones, but even so, the time flies by, and before you know it, they’ll be going off to college or getting married, or taking a job out of state.
And they’ll be gone.
And then the house will stay clean. No more mud or juice stains on the carpet, no more water all over the kitchen floor from spilled ice cubes, no more randomly placed boogers on walls, no more used band-aids stuck to the sides of the garbage can. There won’t be eye shadow all over the bathroom floor or crayon marks all over the walls.
And the house will be quiet. Neat and quiet. No more kids waking you up in the middle of the night because they had a bad dream. No more banging on piano keys or loud video games. No more doors being slammed or frames being broken. No more arguments about which game to play, no more late nights helping with homework, no more soccer games or dance recitals.
It seems like a dream, doesn’t it? Peace and quiet. A neat and tidy house. Everything in its place as it should be. No kids to mess anything up. We’ll have time for ourselves, finally, time for ourselves! It’s what we always hope for when we have kids, and we’ll finally have it.
But I can image, that as we sit in our perfectly warm bubble bath, reading the recommended book for book club which we can now be a part of every month because the kids are gone; we’ll see the bookmark that they drew for us in 2nd grade. Or we’ll see a photograph of their first step, or find a toy that they used to play with. Or we’ll be walking down the aisles of the store, which used to be a vacation with kids, but now is a dreaded chore like it was before we ever conceived; and see a bag of Airheads which they loved.
And we’ll MISS them.
We’ll miss the soft hugs and kisses, the way they would hold our leg when there was a stranger around, the way their tears would stream down those tiny cheeks, the cuddling, the laughing, the holding. We’ll miss the flowers they picked for us, the big smiles when they would see us at their school program, holding them on our lap during the fireworks, the blue lips from sno cones, the water fights, the stories, the pictures they drew, the way they looked at us with those big eyes and little faces, the way they needed us.
We’ll miss what we have today.
So let’s enjoy them while we can. Because one day, we’ll wish we could turn back time to today. To right now. To THIS. This beautiful, crazy, hectic, simple, insane life of ours…with them.
We have them here today. Enjoy them.