Every night after the extra hug and the just one more kiss, it comes, as I’m about to close the door. As I’m about to go downstairs and enjoy a glass of wine or a book or some mindless TV. Right before I can rest and the constant demands of the day have stopped, he starts.
“Yes” I say trying to hide the annoyance and bottle the relief that I was on the verge of having.
“Oh snuggle puppy of mine, everything about you is especially fine….”
Every night he sings that song and recites that story, and as much as I am done with the day I pause and listen and smile and sing along and stay present in just one more moment of the day. Because now that he’s 5 I know that this won’t be forever. That it won’t last. That I will blink and he won’t sing to me at bedtime.
Time moved slowly when he was an infant. Days started before dawn and never seemed to end. He cried all the time. Weeks dragged on and I would think if only he was 6 months old things would be easier. Or it will be fun when he can walk. I can’t wait till he’s in preschool and I have some time to myself. It will be so long before he’s in school full day. And I blinked and in September he starts school full-time.
I blinked. It went too fast. And all those times that people kindly told me that it”goes too fast” and I rolled my eyes and thought what did they know. They didn’t have a colicky infant or a cranky toddler or a stubborn 4-year-old. And I lamented being told to enjoy these days because who were they to tell me to enjoy it when they didn’t know what my day had been like. They hadn’t been up all night or had food thrown at them or dragged a screaming kid from the grocery store. They hadn’t lived my day or days.
And now he’s five and in the fall our days together will be shorter. I won’t have every afternoon with him. We won’t head off on play dates and spontaneous adventures will be rare. Lazy days at home won’t be a weekly event. Come the fall we will be rushing out the door 5 days a week. And while I know it’s time and that we are ready for this, I’m not yet ready to accept it.
Last week as I put Grace in the car and Jack buckled his seat belt and we drove to school I thought about how much it had taken to get out the door. How much work and rushing that it required. And I mentally scrapped our plans for summer camps and classes. I’m opting to keep it simple this summer. I don’t want to rush these days anymore. I want to hold on to them, even if it requires taking a breath, having more patience and realizing that these last 5 years really went too fast.