Last Friday I attended a Mother’s Day program at the kids’ school. After each grammar school grade presented either a poem or a song about mothers, Jean, the Head of School, read a very sweet book to us called Let Me Hold You a Little Longer by Karen Kingsbury. It was a cool twist on looking back on your children’s younger years. Instead of remembering all their “firsts” it spoke of being present and mindful for all of their “lasts” – the last hit they had in Little League, the last time they came to your bed to sleep, the last time you cuddled up with them to read a story.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the place… well, at least in the first couple rows! I sat in the second row, right behind the reserved seating for the moms of all the Seniors. I thought it was so cool they came to this event, since none of their students were likely in the grammr school any longer. Apparently this annual event was one they wanted to cherish one last time. As the women in front of me passed tissues between themselves, I was even more overwhelmed with emotions. Their kids are truly experiencing so many “lasts” this year and they’re watching them launch into the world. It’s so hard to let go.
If that wasn’t enough, our heart strings were further tugged when they started a slide show of pictures of all the students. They played a couple songs that were extremely poignant. The first one stuck with me, so I looked it up later and played it repeatedly over Mother’s Day weekend. The song is Slow Down by Nichole Nordeman. The lyrics that always get me are:
Had to crawl before you walked
Before you ran
Before I knew it
You were trying to free your fingers from my hand
‘Cause you could it on your own now
Somehow, slow down
I’d decided to take Friday off of work, for a much needed personal day! The program was in the morning and I could think of several different ways to spend the rest of the day. But, I finally felt inspired to pull out all my scrapbooking supplies and start on Mateo’s scrapbook. Last year I got Sienna’s first 18 months finished and into a book, but I hadn’t started Mateo’s at all yet. It had been on my list of goals for two years already! All it took was slowing down and letting myself feel the sadness of his young childhood passing to prioritize this important, but obviously not urgent, task.
Oh man, looking back at baby Teo is such a joy! Sometimes I lament the fact that I wasn’t as present and capable of being in the moment when he was a baby. But, then I remember all the time I spent singing to him and rocking him to sleep. I was there. I was present.
When I think back on my children’s baby and toddler years, even though this was the season where I controlled my feelings and spent too much time in my head, I always adored being with Sienna and Mateo. They were able to ground me like nothing else. Even now, as I’ve learned to be present, my kids are my daily touchstone to the here-and-now. They are perpetually in the moment. I love hearing their thoughts, seeing their expressions, and just watching them learn and grow through the ebbs and flows of life. It’s the best.
But, it’s true, I often wish that time would somehow slow down.