Some days, those long, long days that start at 5am in the morning, when I haven't washed my hair in far too long, there are piles of laundry all over the house, dishes stacked up by the side of the sink and countless other chores to be done, motherhood can feel like a hard, thankless job. On those days, I find myself counting the hours till the little ones are in bed, and I can sit down and eat my dinner in peace.
Only, once they're in bed, I miss them. I miss a little pair of hands patting my knee and wanting up when I try to sit down and check my bank balance online, or a little voice asking me to please do her sticker book with her when I sit down on the sofa while the baby's napping to read a book.
And I remember these words, which I printed out and stuck on my fridge, they resonated so much with me:
you will never have this day with your children again.
tomorrow, they'll be a little older then they were today.
this day is a gift.
breathe and notice.
smell and touch them;
study their faces and little feet and pay attention.
relish the charms of the present.
enjoy today, mama.
it will be over before you know it.
I know these words are so true, as I look at my fourteen year old and cannot believe how quickly the years have passed and turned her from a tiny, downy headed baby to the beautiful young woman she has become. I read a quote in a book recently that there is a constant sense of bereavement about being a parent, and I think there's truth in that. They grow up far, far too fast.
Polly's Mother's Day card to me today had a picture of her heart on it. There was a line down the middle of her heart, and on one side she'd written MUMMY. The other side was divided between her daddy, sisters, brother, and the rest of her family.
She told me that was because half her heart belonged to me.
I was suddenly, painfully aware that it won't always be this way. I may take up half my eleven year old daughter's heart for now, but one day she'll be a grown woman like me with a husband and children of her own, and they will come first in her life.
So today, on Mother's Day, I'm reminding myself that though these are hard, tiring days at times, there will come a day when the laundry basket is empty, there are only two people's dishes by the sink, and that our house will seem very, very quiet. Those will be happy days, too, but for now, I am cherishing every single day of my children's childhood. Even the ones that start at five in the morning.