As I laid Avery down to sleep for the night, I wondered, “Is that the same shirt she has been wearing since Monday? Where did her pants go?” Oh well. I zipped her up into her sleep sack, kissed her goodnight, and headed back upstairs to clean up dinner.
What I found when I got upstairs was a little red headed boy with marker on his cheek, wearing mis-matched pajamas. Again, I couldn’t remember when he first put them on. 2 days ago? 3? Oy. My kids weren’t always like this. I can remember when I bathed them every night. I’d slather them in special lotion, Q-tip their ears, floss their teeth, clip their toe nails and carefully coif their hair. These days, my kids are lucky to get 1 bath per week, and it is closer to something from “Minute to Win it”. I know for sure their bodies touched the water, but I can’t say for certain whether or not every part of them got washed with soap.
My life is more chaotic than it has ever been. I no longer take time to print pictures and paste them into scrapbooks, or make special bins of “forever clothes”. Locks of hair were previously stored in an envelope, but first haircuts now happen in the bath tub. The whole point just being to trim away the “old man hair” that tends to grow around baby’s ears.
Instead of cataloguing every minute of their lives, now I am actually living IN the moments. I’m less worried about making memories for 25 years from now, and more worried about experiencing my kids as they live and breathe RIGHT NOW. Instead of making molds of their tiny hands, now I spend every moment kissing them and wiping away the sticky.
None of this means I love my kids less, or that I am not “cherishing” the memories. In fact, it’s the opposite. I am no longer the Mom watching an entire dance recital through the lens of a camera. Now I’m the Mom who is watching it with my whole soul, trying to soak up every minute of the splendor of their lives. And I don’t worry about whether or not I’ll remember tiny details, because those details don’t matter. “When did Avery take her first steps?” I dunno. Frankly, does it really matter? I remember being there when she took those steps. I remember how she was smiling so big her cheeks actually scrunched up her eyes a little.
So maybe 25 years from now the kids will come to me crying that they weren’t bathed regularly enough, or that their baby books are just as empty as the day I bought them…..but for today, I’m going to just enjoy their smelly heads, and be glad I’m not making extra laundry.