In less than four years, my son will be going to Kindergarten. In less than three years, he will go to preschool. This reality hit me hard this year as I saw photos on social media from family members and friends sending their little ones off to school this year.
Since my son has been born, various people have repeated the same phrase “the days are long but the years are short.” When he was a newborn and I was unknowingly battling postpartum anxiety while trying to figure out how to be a mother, including being a Catholic mother, I couldn’t even imagine what the next month would be like, let alone thinking forward to when he would one-day start school.
But lately, time seems to be going by at warped speed and we will soon be approaching his second birthday. The chaos has now shifted from newborn anxieties to “toddlerisms”, as I like to call it. The phrase “the days are long but the years are short” now repeats in my head each day and depending on the day, sometimes by the hour.
I also remind myself that just like the newborn stage, which seemed to quickly pass by in a blur, this stage will also pass by and perhaps even faster than the previous stage.
My son usually has a great appetite and used to eat almost everything. Now those days are few and far between. Yesterday for lunch, I was heating up leftovers for us and trying to appease him with some frozen peas as an appetizer in the meantime. He usually loves them and happily gobbles them up, babbling until our food is ready. Instead, he swiped his hands back and forth like a windshield wiper until all the peas were on the floor. He also threw his sippy cup of milk across the room and started to demand for “bobby” which sometimes comes out as “bopsie” or “boppie”, but always means peanut butter.
While my dog was thrilled with the fact that there were discarded peas and milk on the floor, I was not, as I had just swept and mopped (okay, Swiffered) the day before. I muttered quickly to myself “Have children they said!” but stopped and thought of Saint Teresa of Calcutta and realized that I needed our Blessed Mother to shed some maternal guidance on me instead.
“If you ever feel distressed during your day—call upon our Lady—just say this simple prayer: ‘Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.’ I must admit—this prayer has never failed me.” —Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
So I did call on the Blessed Virgin Mary and like St. Teresa promised, it did not fail me. I realized that my son won’t always be this little boy in his highchair. One day, I will be sending him off to school. While I’d prefer he not reenact the scene in Twister where everything in his reach goes flying about the house, I won’t get this exact moment again. The dog can lick up the mess for now, I can clean later and my son can enjoy his bobby sandwich. There are blessings hidden in the chaos. The moment I realized all of this, I immediately felt bad that I had shouted “I’m getting you bobby!” and then also realized that the windows were open and that my neighbors are probably wondering who the heck bobby is and why my toddler is so obsessed with him.
There is a certain magic to motherhood. One moment I long for a quiet moment to myself, where I have nothing to do but curl up and read a good book or watch my favorite show. But then during that quiet (rare and mystical) moment to myself, I miss my little boy terribly and can’t wait to be with him again. Nap time is the perfect example. Usually, we both look forward to nap time—he loves to sleep (please don’t hate me, he didn’t always like to sleep! I will share more on that topic of sleep deprivation for another journal) and about twenty minutes before it is time to sleep, he starts to rub his eyes and does the sign for sleep (we’ve taught him some sign language so that he can better communicate his needs.)
I also look forward to nap time so that he can rest and recharge and so that I can get my work done. The work that happens during each nap may be different, but the same ache in my heart peaks around half-hour into nap time. I begin to miss his laugh, his smile, his chubby, soft hands that reach up while he demands “uppa, uppa, uppa.”
I quite literally can’t even put into words the love that I have for this wonderful, explosive, sweet, tenacious and tiny human. So much love that today, as I finish writing this journal during the last fifteen minutes of his nap, I will most likely quit here so that I can get him just a tad bit earlier than usual to revel in the warm snuggles that he gives me after he wakes and delight in his sweet and raspy from just waking up voice. As always, I will recite Numbers 6:24-26, which is printed and framed on his wall, cover his cheeks with kisses, smell the top of his head and for the billionth time in his short but significant life, thank God for trusting me with this precious miracle.
As always, thank you for reading. God bless you and may the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always! Don’t forget to call on our Lady, anytime you need her.
“Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.” —Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
DiLibero, Br. James. “Confidence in the Mother.” Heartsofjesusandmary.com, 10 June 2015, heartsofjesusandmary.com/confidence-in-the-mother