It was a rainy morning as I loaded the disposable grocery bags and sat Grace in the shopping cart, pushing her bow back up into her hair, only to have her pull it down again. My grocery list slipped into my back pocket and my diaper bag swung across my shoulder.
I push the cart and talk to Grace as we make our way around the store. “Do you want bananas?” I say as I put a bunch in the cart.
“What do we want for dinner this week? Do we want chicken?” I ask as we roll past the meat department and on to dairy, a little one-sided conversation to make the trip go faster for both of us.
Since I’m a SAHM I tend to grocery shop when all of the retired grandma’s are shopping. Which regularly leads to this statement, “Enjoy it, these are the best years of your life”. When I was a first time mom that comment drove me nuts. I used to quickly move on with my cart. Rolling my eyes and shaking off my annoyance as soon as they were out of sight.
Last week a little old lady in a motorized scooter stopped me in the dairy department. She glanced at Grace and smiled at her while I loaded 2 gallons of organic milk into the cart. “Oh honey she’s beautiful, enjoy her. Those were the best years of my life, and I didn’t even know it. Now they are all grown”.
And I nearly cried right there in the dairy department, surrounded by organic milk and cream and products with names like kefir.
Instead I said, “thank you, I am”.
Because the second time around I know it. I’m all too familiar with the feeling that their childhood is going too fast. I’m all too familiar with the fact that they grow up quickly. I can now see that the days are long but the years are short.
I know these are the best years of my life. I know it because I want to go back and hold Jackson as an infant just one more time. I know it because I want to play with him as a 2-year old and snuggle him as a 3-year-old. I know it because I blinked and he is six years old. Oh I feel it. The slipping of the sand through my fingers.
And I don’t want to let them go. I don’t want to waste these years. I don’t want look back with regret that I didn’t know these were the years. I want to be here now, in the best years of my life.