As a mother to young children, there’s a phrase I hear often. It’s one of those phrases that latches on and rattles around in my mind at the most inopportune times, like when I’m lying in bed at night and the house is quiet. I’m fairly certain the phrase isn’t easily shaken because of the weight and truth it carries. You know the one, I’d be willing to bet you’ve heard it, too.
Before you know it…
When I was exhausted and miserable during my third trimester. Before you know it, she’ll be here.
When I was holding a sweet newborn, swaddled tightly in my arms. Before you know it, she’ll be walking around.
When I was introducing her to food. Before you know it, she’ll be eating dinner and putting her dishes away.
The second time around has been a little different because I know without anyone telling me, things change quickly. Milestones roll by, babies grow into toddlers, and toddlers turn into preschoolers. While BK was mastering milestones and I was busy jotting things down in the baby book and snapping a photo for memory sake, I don’t remember thinking about the weight of the moment. We danced and cheered and high-fived each other when she took her first steps. But, I wasn’t sad.
Because that’s what life is all about. Sure, it’s full of before you know its and you’re going to miss these days. And oh my goodness, that is absolutely true. Life has a funny way of wrapping you up in the moment. It envelopes you like a warm blanket on a cold day and begs you to stay right where you are, seconds tick by and moments pass, yet you find yourself momentarily suspended in a moment that you know you want to hang onto and pull out later.
And life has a perfect way of making the next step just a little sweeter.
Just today I was looking at baby Jud’s tiny hands. They’re unsteady as he tries to swat at toys hanging overhead, and he’s trying his hardest to figure out just how to use them. Before you know it, those hands are going to do wonderful things. They’ll stroke my arm as he’s falling asleep. Those hands will cup my face as he leans in for a big kiss. Those hands will hold a pencil and write his name. They’ll draw me a picture that I’ll display proudly.
Oh, yes, those hands. The same ones that will cause me to retire my pretty earrings that dangle. The ones that will have me child-proofing the house and watching him closely when they’re holding a crayon. They’ll be full of mischief and excitement, before you know it.
The good thing about these days, even if they are fleeting, they’re ours. And I know, you don’t have to tell me, before you know it this season will be over. I’ll be packing up baby clothes for one and getting ready to send the other off to kindergarten. My hope is that the sense of sadness from one chapter closing never casts a shadow on the excitement of the grand adventure ahead.
I’m thankful that in the midst of the moment, I’m able to forget the urgency of fleeting time. I’m able to lean into the moment, rather than pulling away because I know it’ll end soon. You see, I’ve come to realize that life is about being in the moment wholly.
I know with certainty this season will end, before you know it, but that doesn’t change the season. The sweetness remains if even for a brief time.
So today I’ll rock a tiny newborn with no thought of tomorrow. I’ll smile at the smeared handprints on the glass door. I’ll breath in that baby scent after bath time. I’ll kiss tiny foreheads and read bedtime stories. I’ll stand firmly and wholly in this season, in the midst of chaos and scattered toys. I’ll own this time, because before you know it…