Parenting brings with it many milestones: first steps, first day of school, sleepovers, losing teeth, dates, driver’s license, college choices, the list goes on.
As busy as life may get, I try my best not to miss the ‘insignificant’ yet just as memorable moments. My girlfriend Katie was the first of our childhood group to have children. I still remember when her son Adam lost his first tooth and she called (yes, she actually called) to tell me.
‘This is the beginning of the end,’ I stated over the phone. ‘He’s becoming a boy!’
There would be a decade between this moment and when I actually became a mother myself, but I loved that little boy as much as his mother. For that reason, this moment to me was … huge!
My son is now nine. He’s a ‘big’ kid, coming in just shy of 100 pounds and a few inches short of 5 feet tall. His younger sister is equally tall and with a mom who’s 5’10”, they get it honestly. The phrase ‘we grow them big’ has almost become a family mantra.
Last week, a milestone happened. My son became comfortable in the front seat of our car.
For many, this may seem silly or trivial at best. For this mommy, however, I recognized his comfort as not only huge but something to truly take in for a moment.
It was not his first time in the front seat, as we tend to have ‘little’ friends in our car frequently for playdates and pick-ups. This, however, was the first time I could truly see him ‘settle in’ if you will and oddly his sister in the backseat seemed perfectly fine with her newly acquired roominess.
This was the moment I knew, my days driving as a chauffeur had come to an end.
That night, after our good night routine I realized something … I have spent the past nine years in the role of chauffeur. Having someone seated next to me was a welcoming adjustment.
I mentioned this to the duo the next morning on the way to school as each of them took their ‘new’ seats in the car. Yes, my daughter has now chosen to sit behind the passenger versus the driver as she can now see mommy when she’s talking to her.
Being literal, my son was quick to point out that I had spent plenty of time in the front seat with their father, which was undeniably true. As mommies, however, from the day we leave the hospital with those heavy and bulky car seats, we spend much of our drive time focused on what’s happening in the back seat. It’s our job.
Three cars and many miles later, I came to recognize (in a somewhat odd way) that indeed my babies are growing up. The days on passing Cheerios to the back or searching for a sippy cup with my right hand as I steer with my left are all now memories. We’ve graduated, in an odd way.
Our car time is now spent with trivial and random conversation about animal anatomy or dance music my daughter wants added to my playlist. In between the conversation, us girls belt out our favorite tunes, as my son patiently peers out of the passenger window. On occasion we’ll be treated to silliness of him mocking us, as the two of us are convinced we have a mother/daughter singing future (wink, wink).
I would be remiss, if I did not recognize there are a group of readers who have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about. Even better, I recognize that these same people are wondering why I feel this trivial information is important to share in this public forum. You’re all in luck, because it really is not all just ‘that simple.’
The truth is life goes fast. Two words haunt me on a regular basis and they could not be more true … Don’t blink. If you must, if you truly must, then make it count. Whether you are a mother of five kids, a dad trying to just keep up or a single girl just trying to find her place in the world … Live a life with meaning and purpose. Celebrate the small things, not just the days marked on a calendar which shake us to remember time flies by. Reminders are there daily, take the time to pause and notice.
This all makes me think of two passages from a favorite song by Five for Fighting. The song title is ‘100 Years.’
“Half time goes by. Suddenly you’re wise. Another blink of an eye, 67 is gone. The sun is getting high, we’re moving on…”
“15… there’s still time for you. 22…… I feel her too. 33…. You’re on your way. Every day’s a new day.”
That’s the lesson. That is what I learn most from being a mom … Every day’s a new day. Live the moments. Celebrate the milestones and quite simply just don’t blink.
Teresa Hammond is a former reporter and current circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.