My little Addy crawls up on the couch with her blanket, looks at me and asks in her soft little voice “snuggle me mommy?” I love these moments. These tiny moments that I’m not sure how much longer I’ll have.
She is my baby, my last baby. Almost 4 years old. I wonder where the time has already gone. How did we get from 3 am feedings to her learning to ride a bike?
I spend most days on my toes now. Three girls ages 3, 6, and 7 have me going nonstop. I was busy before but It’s a totally different kind of busy now.
I’m no longer up all night soothing a crying baby with colic. There are no endless diaper changes. No more teething drools.
Those have all been replaced by keeping track of activity and school schedules. Working on math facts, letters, and sight words.
But I would be lying if I said that I didn’t miss those baby days.
There were days of pure exhaustion, when I felt like I was just on autopilot with coffee in my hand. I longed for a few hours of sleep at night. I remember that some days were so hard I would break down and cry. I was wishing for those early days to speed up. I just couldn't wait until they slept through the night.
But now when I look back, I regret not taking it a little slower. I realize that in those hard times, there was still so much to enjoy. So much that was truly amazing. Moments I will never get to live again.
My oldest is almost 8 and I can still say that the first year is still my favorite. I love all the milestones and watching this tiny baby develop and see their personality shine. Old photos and videos make me just tear up.
I miss my babies being babies. Nothing prepares you for the last time. I didn’t know that it would be the last night I rocked my baby to sleep, until it was over. I would have rocked just a little longer. I didn’t know it was the last stroller ride; I would have walked a little farther. I didn’t know it was the last time I would see a first step or hear a first word.
Though the new firsts and milestones are fun and exciting, those tender years went by in the blink of an eye. Through those difficult stages where I just wished for them to be a little older, I now wish I would have embraced them a bit more. I wish for time to slow down.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have snuggled a little longer. I would have let my baby nap in my arms more often. I would have stopped worrying about cleaning the house or doing the laundry and just held my baby. I would have cherished those bedtime rocks to sleep more. On so many of those nights I was ready for the baby to go to bed. Now, I will never rock one of my babies to sleep again.
The days are long. They can be so long. But I am already feeling how short the years are. How much I already miss them being little.
On those really hard days, you don’t want to hear “you will miss this,” but I promise you that you will. Instead of focusing on how hard it is, remember, not every day is rough. On those normal days, take a few extra minutes to just enjoy your children. Leave the dishes in the sink and play on the floor.
You will never regret spending more time, only less. Some nights when they ask for one more story, read two. If they want bedtime snuggles, snuggle.
I am surrounded by moms with kids older than mine and the echo of “enjoy this, it will be over before you know it” rings in my ears. I have nieces and nephews that are becoming teens. I have friends with kids graduating from high school and going to college. Before I know it, that will be my kids.
So today, I am going to work at taking my own advice. I am going to worry less about the house around me and more about being present with my kids. I am going to sit on the couch and snuggle a little longer with my 3-year-old and drink my coffee. I am going to watch my 7-year-old do handstands for the 100th time. I am going to hang my 6-year old’s artwork all over the house.
I can't rewind, though I so often wish I could do it all over again, even those really rough days. I am going to enjoy my kids. I don’t get any of this time back. The time with our kids moves in the blink of an eye. Don’t miss it.
Teri Sinnott is a busy wife, mother of 3 girls, teacher, blogger, and certified Life Coach. She utilizes her professional experience and passionate heart to encourage others. Teri provides parenting and life hacks to simplify life and allow parents to focus on what really matters. No stranger to using her voice to create positive change, Teri hosts social media platforms that are centered on inspiration and providing a community of fellowship for women. Visit her at www.christianmomonfire.com.