Yesterday, I stood in the grocery store line with my boys. A customer behind us remarked that I had my hands full. I smiled and said, “Yes, most days I do.” And then he smiled back and said, “You will miss these days.”
When my kids were much younger, and quite honestly, much harder for me to take anywhere, I used to want to roll my eyes when a stranger would say that to me. Didn’t they remember how HARD it was to just get out of the house? Didn’t they notice the bags under my eyes and the stains on my t-shirt?
Although in my heart I knew they were probably right, my exhausted body and sleep-deprived mind couldn’t quite grasp the concept that I would one day wish for more nights of waking up with a baby in the early hours of the morning. Or that I would ever be able to look back on the epic tantrums and think they weren’t so bad after all. Or that I would walk by the diapers in the grocery store and wish I still had a need to put a box in my cart.
But now, I am long past the baby stage and have said goodbye to the toddler years, too. And the passage of time allows me to look back on those days with a new kind of nostalgia. It was hard not to get mired down in how difficult those years were when I was in the thick of it. But time has allowed the heavy stuff to settle to the bottom, and the sweetness to float to the top.
I have many more years of parenting to go, and each new age and stage has brought new challenges. But now I can appreciate the seasoned point of view when someone with grown children tells me I will miss these days.
Instead of an eye roll, I smile and say, “Yep. I know I will.”