Today was one of those days when I kept glancing at the clock. It was 9 a.m. when she had a meltdown over something wrong with her pancakes. It was 10:15 a.m. when the dog wouldn’t take her plastic food and she threw it across the room. It was 11:30 a.m. when she was overtired and laid on the floor beating her feet against the hardwood.
It didn’t get better after nap time, either.
Tantrum after tantrum, problem after problem, and I couldn’t urge bedtime to get here any faster. I laid her down for her normal episode of Bubble Guppies before bed, and when I picked her up to move her to her room, she wrapped her little arms around me and put her cheek against mine. And, like a trigger, my eyes filled with tears.
In one of my favorite movies, Hook, Peter Pan’s wife, Moira, makes a beautiful revelation that pierced my mind as my tiny toddler wrapped around my body. She says, “We have a few special years with our children, when they’re the ones that want us around. After that you’re going to be running after them for a bit of attention. It’s so fast. It’s a few years, and it’s over.”
I have but a few years with Sydney before she’s going to be pushing me away, and shutting her door to keep me out. When she’ll roll her eyes when my name pops up on her cell phone, and count down the days to get her license as to gain even more freedom. When I will be an obstacle she has to get past to have fun, instead of being the one she runs to for it.
On days like today, I need to remember that. I will never get this day back with her. My eyes flickering back and forth to the clock weren’t just urging on nap time and bedtime; they were forcing the days and years to move quicker. Suddenly, she’s going to be five, about to start school. Then, a tween, obsessed with a future Justin-Bieber-lookalike. Then, the dreaded teen years.
As the mother of a toddler, it’s easy to get exhausted because you have half the energy the little midget running around your legs has, but try. It’s easy to count the seconds and minutes for an acceptable time to put them to bed. Instead, revel.
Revel in the peanut butter-smeared smiles, and the sticky fingers. Revel in finding a way to stop the tears, and put a grin back on their face. Revel in the millions of questions, revel in their curiosity. Revel in showing them everything they’ve never experienced, even something as small as a ladybug. Never take a second for granted.
We have but a few short years where we are our child’s whole world. I am going to enjoy my role as her sun for as long as possible. My arms are tingling right now, itching to scoop her out of her crib and swing her around in the air, that sweet child of mine!
But I will wait, and tomorrow will be a new day. No clocks. No iPhones. No television.
Just me and her.