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Friday, February 05, 2010

The Gift Of An Ordinary Day


I walk into her house bearing food. It is, I remember, most likely the happiest time of her day. Not just that someone is bringing her a meal she didn't have to cook, but also that someone who is over 3 feet tall has entered her home. Someone who can talk about adult things and, if she is lucky, linger for a bit. She asks me if I want to see the baby who has just begun to cry over the monitor in the kitchen. Of course I say yes, even though my husband and children are waiting for me in the van and I really should be going. But I know that would be like telling Mary Cassatt I don't want to see her painting; Flannery O'Connor that I don't want to read her stories. This is, I know, her masterpiece. The finest thing she's ever done. Of course I need to see.

The baby is tiny and precious, her downy black hair so soft I want to touch it. She nestles her into the crook of her neck and I remember the delicious feeling, the way that my baby's head seemed to be created to fit perfectly for that spot, like puzzle pieces clicking into place. I do not have to lean in to sniff the smell of a newborn, my whole body remembers that intoxicating scent I never tired of inhaling.

I look around the kitchen and see the vestiges of a life I once lived-- the black board where she has chalked memory verses for her 5 and 3 year old, the sippy cups, the 2 little ones who are restless and energetic, the small red table set for 2 with tiny plastic dishes. Once these were the trappings of a life I wanted out of, a life I thought I would never escape. I couldn't see past the crying and the needing. I couldn't believe that these little people would ever grow up, that the endless days would ever speed up. I couldn't fathom that I would ever, ever want any of it back.

And yet, as I hop into the van with my husband and children, I smile wistfully as we pull away. I was just there, I think. Minutes ago. And now the days of having 3 little ones are gone forever. I can't go back and do it again. I can only look around at the scenes of my life as it is and work harder to appreciate what I have now.

I found this video that, if you have 7 minutes to spare, perfectly sums up what I felt standing in my younger friend's house.

It goes so fast, the older women always told me. It turns out, they were right.
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10 comments:

Mary Y said...

I'm try to remind myself of this often, as I am nearing the end of my own thrid pregnancy with two littles here already. Even the days when I wish I could run away are still a blessing.

Thanks for the timely reminder!

Kelly said...

Being one of those 'older' women now (51) I can testify it is true...it all goes by too fast...enjoy your stages wherever they may be...once they are gone, they are gone....

Cindy (Letters From Midlife) said...

My oldest is 27 and my "baby" will soon be 16. I still remember those sleep deprived days with babies and young children. Now it's a different kind of sleep depravation...hot flashes, waiting for a teenager to get home by curfew, etc.

Bridget said...

Beautifully said Marybeth. I had a similar moment a few weeks ago as I dashed through the nursery halls at church. I remember thinking that those early days with my babies were the hardest of my life and wishing them to hurry up and go away. Wiser women always said, as you did, that it would be faster than I thought. And so it did...

tchrmom said...

Maybe it's b/c I turned 40 this week, but this entry made me cry! I'm trying to hang onto my last one who is 4, but he's into living life to the fullest and won't slow down! I suppose I am really more than proud of my "masterpieces" though. Thanks, Marybeth!

Robin said...

MB, I cried my eyes out! These are the things we know...but need this kind of reminder ...This year I have a senior...and within 5 all four boys gone...it happens so fast...I start tonight...purposing to appreciate what I have now.
R

Anonymous said...

Loved your last two posts. They are so true, and you expressed it so beautifully in your writing.

Flamingo Mama said...

broke into the ugly cry for this one. God hit me beautifully with all this. Needing to appreciate again.

Stephanie Shott said...

Marybeth,
That was beautiful...literally beautiful! My boys are now 29 and 22, and oh, how time flies.

Your post was a bitter sweet reminder of days gone by.

By the way, if your novel is written anything at all like this post, it is going to be awesome!!!

O'Nealya Gronstal said...

One of the best posts I have read. I too am guilty of wishing the younger years away in the midst of stressful days. My little guy is 3-1/2 and his sister will be two next month. Nineteen months apart and right now is hard and exhausting and it seems like all I have done the last week or so is discipline!

Friends tell me all the time to cherish these moments and I keep telling myself to do so but as I read this post the Holy Spirit kept whispering "Intentional. Be intentional about it" Thanks Mary Beth!