By Kate Kole
Last month, I passed another mom at the park. “Just wait” she muttered, shaking her head, as she trailed the three kids in front of her. With my son toddling alongside me, I smiled and thought back to the day before. A man at the mall, noticing my growing belly remarked,“you’re about to have your hands full”. I nodded as we shuffled along.
For every cautionary tale of what’s just ahead is another of the opposite kind: The moms saying how they’d give everything to go back to the season I’m in right now. The ones who would trade graduation caps for diaper bags in a second and eagerly remind me of what’s slipping through my fingers as we speak.
I think most of us share our warnings and wisdom with the best of intentions. We’ve been there, done that, and want to pass on what can only be fully known and experienced in hindsight. So, we tell our stories. Of sleepless nights with newborns and the snuggles that we so dearly miss. Of the way it felt like some days would never end and how time passed so quickly. Of how overwhelming it seemed to always be needed and the way we’d do anything to be needed like that again. We tell of hard times and nostalgic times as a way of offering when to hold on because it’ll get better and when to hold tight because this is as good as it gets.
I can often feel myself simultaneously pumping the breaks and pushing the accelerator throughout the day. Melting into morning giggles and wishing my way through a middle of Target tantrum. Savoring and surviving and wondering if I’m striking the right balance of the two. Or, if such a balance even exists.
With a week left in 2019, I decided to forgo a list of resolutions for the coming year. At this point I rarely remember everything on a grocery store run, so tracking any other sort of metric felt like a lofty reach. But, still, I wanted something to mark the beginning of the decade. I craved a word, just one, that could freshly guide me through this season of my life.
After sorting through mantras the same way you would baby names, I finally landed on it: appreciate. I decided that this would be the year that I chose to recognize the full worth of my life as it is right now. To resist the urge to rewind and fast forward and to instead take moments to simply pause and notice.
The way granola smells as it’s baking in the oven and how the sunset looks as it settles across the trees at night. The warmth of my comforter as I climb into bed and the sound of toddler feet racing across hardwood floors. The coexistence of exhaustion and gratitude and longing and contentment.
This year, I’ll quite literally follow the advice of the woman at the park and just wait. I’ll be here now and there later and appreciate the moments in between.
Featured image via pexels