Last weekend Connor proudly told me that he had woken up in the middle of the night scared, but he stayed in his own bed and went back to sleep. While I told him what a big boy he was with an enthusiastic (fake) smile, my heart ached in silent mourning. There was a time when I used to groan at night time disturbances. There was a time when I dreaded the long summers, and my shouts of joy at school’s return in the fall were deafeningly loud. There was a time when motherhood felt like a season of Survivor, and I was about to be booted off the arduous island.
There was a time when I never would have allowed the summer to begin without at least a few camps lined up. I love my children dearly, but as a stay-at-home mom I have always needed my space. Call me selfish, but I was not one who could easily slip into the sacrifices of motherhood without girls’ nights, date nights, school days, camps, and annual girls’ weekends completely away. Camp-free, 24-7 with the boys all summer in the not too distant past would have terrified me.
Somewhere in recent times I have recognized a gradual shifting in our stage of life with the Beckett boys. One Huffington Post article alluded to it as “The Sweet Spot.” We have finally caught up on our sleep. The boys are much more independent. We no longer wipe their rears (most of the time). But they are still young enough to want us and need us. The middle of the night disturbances are too infrequent and have transformed from sources of agony to the sweetest moments ever. There has been a dramatic shift in my just-survive-each-day versus savoring-every-moment ratio. The former mentality that had been desperate at times has officially been replaced with the constancy of the latter, with a different sort of sweet desperation.
In all honestly, there may have still been a slight sense of fear at summer’s start. Yet when a friend posted lyrics from Trace Adkins’ “You’re Gonna Miss This,” I knew those words would be my summer anthem. When did time quicken its pace without my permission?
I could not resist reminding Connor that ANY time he felt scared in the middle of the night, he could always come to Mama. Always. It was another “sadhappy” moment, those bittersweet instances of celebrating their accomplishments while grieving the constant journey of our children’s separation from us. Like when Connor stopped sucking his thumb. Like when Ethan made his own breakfast.
School starts next week. We did not just survive our summer; we thrived in it. I am willing our fantastically enjoyable break to last as long as possible. Even though it has to end in a few short days, this slideshow will help me treasure it forever.
“You’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days
Hadn’t gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you’re gonna miss this”