When entering the land of Motherhood, time changes. All mothers experience some jet-lag due to this time change, for you see, Motherhood is located in a twisted time warp. The days crawl by slowly, like a sloth or a snail, but the weeks roll one right into the next and suddenly a date that seemed so far away is right upon you. Many days, I look at the clock and think, "There can't be six more hours before your Daddy gets home/ 9 hours 'til bedtime/ and in only 19 hours we'll be starting the madness all over again..." But, suddenly, Her Highness is ready to graduate from Kindergarten, reading anything you write before her, and is turning into a young lady just before our eyes.
Sunday was Her Highness' ballet recital. Her sweet class made up of 12 five year olds performed twice. One ballet routine, the other a tap. I try my best not to get sappy at these occasions, but tears filled my eyes as I watched my five year old perform her little heart out, huge smile upon her face, as if she were on Broadway. I was just as proud a Momma as if she were. I turned to Bert at one point and said, "When did she get so big?" Five. Not "SO BIG" to most, but to us, she's just that. First grade is drawing nearer. Spelling tests, book reports, science projects... all the things that Kindergarten is not made of. This year has been F-U-N. And though, next year will seem harder, and more serious for us all, I'm sure it too will have some fun aspects. My Mother says every age does. Enjoy it all. Don't cry for the past. Look back upon your memories and thank God for everyone. My Momma is very smart.
Sunday morning, we "sneaked" (as Thunder put it) out of church services early due to Her Highness' huge introduction to the stage. As I was herding my crazy flock to the car, I passed a lady that I love dearly and think the world of... Mrs. Elaine. I would love to grow up and be much like her. She is now a retired school teacher, and quite courageous. She's taught our Ladies' Bible Class in the past (when I could actually get there on time, and be there both mentally and spiritually, which has become harder and harder as The Storm has gotten older.) And never been afraid to admit when she didn't necessarily see God's point and asked for help from others. She's very REAL and down to earth. And cares genuinely about others. These are just a few of the reasons I admire her so. But, back to Sunday morning... in the parking lot...
There we were: Bert and I trying to keep our nutty boys from being hit by a car, and trying to explain why they didn't get to go to Children's Church and have a snack (all they really care about anyway) when Mrs. Elaine and I spotted one another from across the parking lot. I waved and flashed a smile. She darted across the pavement to hug my neck. Laughing at us she said, "Y'all are quite a group!" I rolled my eyes toward the boys and said jokingly, "I'm not in the mood to deal with them in church today.... No, we're really heading for Lucy's big dance recital this afternoon so we had to leave early..." Which got us to talking about how crazy the boys actually were, and how crazy her children were growing up, etc. Then, she said something I will never forget and appreciate more than she will ever know. "Honey, let me just tell you, you're not gonna miss this." And pointed to the meltdown that was just starting over who would sit where and another just beginning since he couldn't get his seatbelt on by himself. She continued with, "I know folks tell you that all the time, to enjoy every second, but it's not true. I honestly enjoyed the older years, and the time I have with them now, so much more than I did back then. Just know, it only gets better. Love you. Hang in there."
So often strangers, dear friends, and well-meaning relatives have said over and over again to enjoy these younger years, because "those are the best years, even when it seems bad, enjoy it." But, there are a lot of times that I don't enjoy it. I love my babies, but I don't like them all the time, sort of thing. But, for some reason, as much of Motherhood is overcrowded with negative thoughts on how I'm grading myself as a Mother, I let feelings of guilt take over on days when I thought in the back of my mind... Trace Adkins can stick it for singing that dumb song.... that always makes me cry anyway. And the other super sappy one that brings on tremendous bouts in the "you're so taking for granted how sweet this time is so soak it up and enjoy it, even though you have two toddlers throwing huge temper tantrums and a HUGE pile of laundry that is way over due" = guilt department, along with a lump in my throat, you know, the song, the one by Darius Rucker... But, not anymore. I'm now combining my Momma's wisdom with that of Mrs. Elaine's and starting fresh. "You're not gonna miss this." I love it.
I know I will miss some things: The way my boys line up at the back door to wait for a popsicle, all in a row. Stairsteps- redheaded stairsteps. And, how Lightning's husky voice sounds when saying a prayer at meals. The way Hail has to squeeze the top of my arm when being rocked to sleep at night. The stories Thunder tells on all his imaginary friends. (Whole post in itself, coming soon) And how Her Highness still wants a hug and a kiss before leaving for school and she always hollers, "See you at 2 o'clock!" Like she can't wait to see me again. These are just a few, very few, of the things I will miss. But, like the ladies I think so highly of have said, these things will be replaced with other special memories to cherish. Maybe "miss" is the wrong word. I will now replace it with cherish. These are the things I will always cherish. So, artist formerly known as Hootie and Trace Adkins, if you would like to change your songs to "You're gonna cherish this" and "It won't be like this for very long, but it will get better and you have a ton of fun to look forward to..." I will go out and buy your cds. Until then though....
I will return to my time-warped land of Motherhood, taking with me some great advice from those I would like to be just like when I grow up. I love you, Momma & Mrs. Elaine, and thank God for having your influence on my life.