Nostalgia. I don’t know if its hormonal or just something that happens when a small human being comes into your life and touches your heart in spots that quite possibly could have been black before (maybe its just me). But something bizarre happened when my kids came into my life. I became extra, super, cry reading cards in the store, cry when watching Oprah on the treadmill at the gym, cry when driving by the elementary school at the thought of my babies eventually leaving me to go there, sappy. When I say super sappy, I mean it. My daughter’s in the 3rd grade and I still am fighting back tears at the Open House when walking around her classroom at the thought of her growing up. Or the Holiday Concert when she’s exuberantly singing in the crowd of her peers. I have constant flashbacks of when she was a baby and I was always questioning what her personality would be like. She is still a young girl, but who she is the old soul type…very old.
So when I was in the middle of excitedly transferring their playroom toys from our “dining room” to our finished basement, something I’d been wanting to do for about a year, I was floored to find myself sitting in the middle of their playroom sapping it up and flooded with memories of all that we’d experienced in that room. From my daughter’s first crawl, to my son’s play dough laden carpet stains, memories fill this room of their countless games, messy play dates and hours upon hours of free play. And although I was ecstatic to move their playroom and transform this one room to an actual grown up room, I was actually second guessing myself based on nostalgia alone. “They will be so far away from me downstairs,” I thought. “I won’t know what they are doing.” Ummm…I was now naming the exact reasons I wanted to move them to begin with!
I realize those who say “hold on to these moments, they don’t last long,” are well meaning. They know firsthand how quickly it goes and how we’ll long for moments of youth when the children are grown or simply don’t want to snuggle any more. Yet, when you’re in the middle of a chaotic week with homework papers you keep forgetting to sign, dinner that has yet to be made and laundry piles that scream “have you really not noticed they’ve been wearing the same underwear for three days, stop and wash me!” its hard to want to hold on to these moments.
Yet in reality, it’s the same moments I want to ignore as the ones I want to keep. I want to remember the times we’ve been angry with each other and just how we made up, so we can revisit our tactics for the inevitable next time. I want to remember how when my daughter was sad, the exact way I hugged her to remind us both that situations get better and she is always safe. I want to remember when my son is scared, the words that convinced him to brave it out or the internal drive he discovered to face the fear on his own.
I also want to hold on to the moments when my daughter reads to my son and he gazes at her with loving adoration. I want to hold on to the times when we spontaneously dance in the kitchen and laugh at our not so smooth moves. I want to hold on to the memory of holding my babies and promising them that I would love them more than anything or anyone could ever possibly love them.
When I am at my limit and start to question my priorities, I try to remind myself that they are only young once and I don’t get this time back. I get to choose the outcome of the moments I am blessed with and they get to live with my decisions. Sometimes that reminder works to their advantage, other times, not so much. Tis the joy of being human…
It is nostalgia that keeps me snuggling with them a little longer when I’m ready to have my own time at night. When I am feeling depleted, its their barrage of “I love you’s” which makes me feel whole again. They drive me nuts and they fill my world, oddly all at the same time.
We are now happily enjoying the “new” dining room and creating new memories of joy in the same space. Family dinners seem like more of an event in our renewed space and we’ve all had to adapt to our fancy grown up room. Except for the gross burping contest last week…but I had to prove to them just how talented I really am! New moments, new memories, same desire to hold on for as long as I can.