Is it just me, or do you sometimes want to cackle maniacally when people stop you as you’re out with your baby, toddler, or preschooler (lugging all their stuff, catering to their every whim) to say, “Oh savor these early years…they go by so fast!”
“Really? Do they really go by so fast?” I want to reply, a bit too loudly. “DO THEY?” Because sometimes (a lot of the time) these early years actually seem to go painfully–nay, excruciatingly–slow. If that warp-speed thing that strangers on the sidewalk seem to believe is ever going to kick in, I wish it would start already.
Don’t get me wrong. I adore my children. I have chosen to structure my life in order to spend a great deal of time with them and I enjoy it, mostly. And sure, there are moments when I look at my almost-five year old and can’t believe how big she’s become. But I don’t imagine I will ever describe the last five years of my life as “going so fast.” No, I would say I have been aware of every single day of it and not one of those days has raced past me.
Maybe it will seem different when I’m older and farther along in this parenting venture (as the comment-makers often are), and I’m looking back on these early years with my kids. I can imagine how by the time my children are in their twenties or thirties (let’s not even talk about how old I will be by then), I will miss them fiercely, feel sentimental about their youth, and these first few years will seem like a blink of an eye. But today? Today when I am changing diapers, solving irrational disputes, driving here and there, rescuing lost Polly Pockets from the toilet, listening to Raffi, tripping over all the stepstools, struggling to answer esoteric questions, and cutting the ten-thousandth crust off the ten-thousandth sandwich? Today it seems many things: hard, rewarding, frustrating, exhausting, exhilarating, eye-opening, hilarious, painful, glorious, heart-wrenching, messy.
But fast? Not so much.