When you’re the parent who usually leaves first for work in the morning, tears and whining tend to come with the territory when your kids are little. As they get older, you find the tears turn to bemoaning and sheer lack of motivation to move.
Every now and then, I would leave my youngest sleeping in bed next to daddy as I tried to sneak out of the house. At that time, he was a two or three-year-old who had toddled into our room just wanting to sleep in our bed. I would get into my car, which is parked right in front of our bedroom window, and sometimes see his chubby fingers pulling open the bottom blinds and his little paw trying to reach the window to wave goodbye. My heart would sink into my stomach and tears would fill my eyes.
“Bye, Baby. Mommy loves you.” I would find myself saying to my empty car and fighting with all my power to back out of the driveway.
Now as my boys have grown a little older, I don’t see their little fingers in the blinds anymore as I drive away. I do relish in their complaints if I don’t say “I love you” and give them kisses before I leave in the morning. Usually, they will both blow me kisses also as I’m shutting the door, which still makes my heart swell. But time is definitely not our friend since our seven-year-old is slowly becoming too old to hold our hands now whenever we go except but at least the five year will for a little while longer.
In retrospect, I know I took those days for granted when I waved goodbye from my car as my baby struggled to wave from the bedroom window, knowing in my mind that he was standing on his tippy toes, saying “Bye, Mama!” as he moved his hand from side to side between the blinds. His chubby little fingers trying to reach the window and his big brown eyes shining in the light.
It tore at my heart, but I would drive away, knowing I would never want to leave the house if I put the car in park and came inside to try and give him one last hug and kiss. Those thoughts of “I’ll give him an extra squeeze tonight” piled up until now neither of the boys peek out of the window anymore as I drive away.
Youth is fleeting these days. In this nonstop world of go-go-go, the innocence of youth is often the one thing us, as parents, forget to stop and notice when it flies by us like a thief in the night. One minute we’re rocking them to sleep in our favorite chair and the next we’re just trying to hold them down long enough to get them to give us a kiss as they head to the next event.
In this life of constant go, I miss those chubby fingers waving at me from the bedroom window, the short arms raised in the air toward me in such a way meant for me to pick them up, falling asleep in my lap so they can be carried to bed with their arms curled around my neck and just being our little boys in general.
While they will always be my babies, life always has other plans as they grow up and keep getting older, taller, stronger and wiser.
My memory bank is wide and deep because there are just too many I hope not to lose over time from them waving bye, blowing kisses, the first I love you’s, snuggles on the couch, movies in mommy’s bed, bedtime stories… those things that you can’t get back or at least say I’ll do tomorrow when you’re just too tired today. Since like I said, time doesn’t play nice when it notices you’re letting it slip through your fingers.
So stop the car, run inside for one more hug and kiss when your baby peeks out the window at you to wave goodbye because no job, career or boss is worth losing out on those fleeting moments that could end in a heartbeat.