Then…I woke to cries from a crib or requests for Cheerios and “ Dora”. Or sometimes, it was a kick in the ribs and a desperate plea for a sippy cup of juice. Ah, the sippy cups of juice!
Now… I wake before the alarm—the one I set every night “just in case”– to the nudge of a daughter in need of help with her ponytail or a middle school boy who can’t find his favorite socks. Apparently favorite socks is a thing.
Then…My grocery list essentials included baby wipes, the aforementioned juice (by the gallon), goldfish, and whatever checkout aisle toy it took to bribe their good behavior for just 5 more minutes.
Now…My grocery list essentials include frozen pizzas, all the milk the store has in stock, and a colorful assortment of deodorant, hair spray, body spray, mascara, and lip gloss. And probably posterboard and gum.
Then…My days were a long and blurred existence. Spills and tears and toothless grins. Naptime—sometimes successful, sometimes an awful battle of wills. Story books and crayons and Power Tunes and Legos. There were days I absolutely loved the simple chaos inside my own four walls. And other days where those same four walls held me prisoner. I escaped to Target after kids were in bed, usually staying until close. This was a time of laundry piles and strange smells and sticky everything.
Now…My daytime hours are mostly quiet. Not lonely, but once my people all leave for the day there is a stillness. I can shower on my own schedule now, no longer a hostage to naps and tv time. I see the Target parking lot in the light of day. There is still a battle of wills—so many wills! Reading logs and permission slips and flashcards and iphones. Chaos remains, like a comfortable old friend now. All our “living” is crammed into early pre-dawn and the dusk that comes so quickly each day. The laundry piles persist—I just can’t seem to get that one down. Ditto on the strange smells.
The distance between “Then” and “Now” is years and, somehow, just seconds. Some see me as a seasoned mom, but that is only true of the things that no longer require my attention. I am a pro at diaper changes in the dark…but no one at my house needs that from me anymore. Every season, every stage, is new and exciting and frightening. When it comes to orthodontics and teen drivers and high school graduation, I am still a first-time mom. The schedules and routines, the grocery lists and activities change as my kids grow. But the feelings of motherhood have remained the same: Exhaustion. Excitement. Pride. Victory. Insanity. Failure. Contentment. Joy. Fear. Love. Love. Love.
THEN AND NOW…Target is home. And I love my minivan.