This past weekend our kids were invited to celebrate the 2nd birthday of a good friend who shared our caregiver with us last year. Our oldest had basketball so my husband went to her game while I took our almost-four and almost-six year olds to the party.
We were one of the first to arrive and as you’d expect at a 2nd birthday, our kids were also some of the oldest. As everyone walked in with their toddlers, this wild feeling of nostalgia swept over me. Each and every one of them was super adorable in their little outfits with their little shoes and boots and wobbly gates. They were fascinated by balloons and Bubble Guppies and would point at what they wanted while using only one to three words to communicate. Every fiber in my being wanted to pick those kids up and snuggle with them but since I had never met any of their parents before, I successfully resisted that urge.
My feelings only got more intense when I realized that half of the Moms there were pregnant. As they chatted about whether or not they were going to keep day care when the new babies arrived and what their plans were for getting their older kids looked after when they went into labour, I suddenly started to feel like I was in a time warp. This was me, and some of my very best girlfriends, six years ago.
Truthfully I started to feel a little jealous. What an exciting time that was. I remember that feeling of getting ready to go on maternity leave and knowing I’d be sharing it with a number of girlfriends again. As nervous as I was about managing a two-year-old and a newborn, I felt like I was an experienced Mom and could handle what was thrown at me. I remember feeling like our family was becoming more complete. As I sat there watching these pregnant Moms and their toddlers all I could think about was how incredibly lucky they were.
I was brought back out of my daydreams when my little guy suddenly crawled up on my lap. He told me he had something to tell me and motioned like he wanted to whisper in my ear. I leaned down and heard his little voice say, “Mommy, I love you a whole lot.” He then jumped off my lap and went back to playing.
My focus suddenly shifted to my own two kids playing in front of me. Our daughter was helping with the younger kids and playing catch with them. Our son was happy in the corner playing with a train set on his own and had just melted my heart with his random act of love. It very quickly brought me back to how lucky I am right now. I don’t have to constantly wonder where my kids are or what they’re getting into anymore. I don’t have to follow them around when we’re visiting. I don’t have to cut up their food and they can often pour their own drinks or get their own second helpings. I get to watch them try new things and tell me about the sports and activities they love. We can talk about their days and they can ask questions about the world around them.
The walk down memory lane was beyond awesome but I wouldn’t go back. I remember people telling me that every age and stage is incredible and I really don’t think I fully believed it in those first few years of parenthood. I get it now. My kids continue to amaze me every day like they did in those early years and now we can talk, we can hang out and they give back all of the love that we give them. I’ve come t the realization that parenthood is like a fine wine – it just gets better with age.
Deanna is a Mom of three, wife, marketer and blogger – lover of travel, morning coffee, family time, belly laughs, good friends and uninterrupted showers! Follow her on twitter @DeannaCMiller