As we settled in getting ready for the school year to begin, Lucy wanted to get organized.
She’s an organizer by nature, and I love it.
The thing she wanted to organize were her Legos. And she needed closet space to do that.
She wanted to get rid of all her old books that those shelves were laden heavily with. Spilling out with old favorites like “Miss Nelson is Missing” and ‘The Sneetches,” “Are You my Mother?,” “Hazel’s Amazing Mother,” and “Guess How much I Love You.” Books we have poured over again and again. Books I thought I would just die if I had to read one more time all those years ago. Books that she and all my other children learned to sound out their first words in. Books I read to them as they braided and brushed my hair, or snuggled close, sometimes with heavy diapers and fevery-warm cheeks, dirty fingers and smelly feet.
As I started to help her carry loads of those books to the game room where I could organize them in the closet there, I felt the biggest wave of melancholy. How I love these big kids, but how I will always miss those babies.
As we laid those books out, trying to figure out what to get rid of and what to keep, my heart was heavy.
How can all those memories, that were so real and often in-my-face be OVER? Fading slowly into the recesses of my memory, yet still so tangible and beautiful.
This morning my mom sent me an article I wrote a long while back…back when Elle and Max were babies, and reminded me of those “trenches have now become mountains to climb with accompanying valleys, peaks and cliffs to fall over!” Ha! Oh boy is she ever right!
That article started out with my favorite motherhood quote I’ve spilled out many times on this blog, and reminded me once again of those books:
“Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach. T. Berry Brazelton. Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with ‘Goodnight Moon’ and ‘Where the Wild Things Are,’ they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories.” Then she goes on and talks about some of the mistakes she made while raising her babies. “…the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make…I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of [my children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4, and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.”
(I posted that whole article back HERE…about cherishing the moments while they lasted with Max and Elle as babies causing all kinds of ruckus.)
It was good for me to read over again, because it made me so glad that I decided clear back then to cherish those moments. I knew they’d be gone, transformed from books to boxes and boxes of Legos:
…and prom dates and internships and dating and adventures that will someday be memories just like those books.
And I’m just forever grateful that I have those velvety beauty things running through my veins. And that more of them keep gathering. And that I realize they’re precious…like gold. I love that they’re running through my children’s’ veins too. And that they hold us together like no strong cords or ropes every could.
Now I look at those old books, gathering dust on a high shelf, waiting for grandchildren some day (yikes!), and I’m just grateful that even though I didn’t think I could read them one more time when I was bone-tired and even sometimes bored, that I did it anyway.
Please share as you figure out the "food" thing and healthy snacks etc. for your entire family. You really need to NOT give any head space to that doctor and what he said.
I'm going through the same thing with my 7 year old (and only child). She is into chapter books now like the Junie B Jones books and whatnot, and it's time to go through her old quick reads that I read a thousand times each and it's like a happy sadness.
I think you are smart to think about transitions and needing to feel the feelings they bring up. I too have a shelf of both my children's books and my son's books waiting for new, young people to come into my life! How many times I feel asleep while reading these beloved books!
One thought for Lucy – there is a great book called The Science of Skinny written by a chemist who lost 100 pounds and kept it off. Her approach is about balancing PH levels and supporting the liver. I have no idea if any of the concepts work with BBS but it might be worth a read.
My mother's cousin always says, "if you have water, they will come." Meaning have a house by the water and the adult children will come back to vacation 🙂
Oh, I’m so glad you are keeping the books for grandchildren! I can’t tell you how much I love seeing my kids read my old books when we visit my parents (and most importantly, I’ve rediscovered books that I LOVED as a kid but of course had no idea what the title was—I would just remember a sentence or a picture).
This post was so good for me to read as my oldest five children all went back to school yesterday and it’s just me and our sweet little surprise caboose baby, and it’s been hard for me to wrap my mind around it all. First time in twelve years that I’ve only had one kiddo home and I was legit bawling my eyes out reading Big Red Barn to him yesterday and thinking how my years of reading to my babies and toddlers have gone SO fast and are almost gone and those are my very favorite times as a mother! (Of course when my big kids got home I lured them to the couch with snacks so I could cuddle them and read to them while they ate!)
I’m sure you’ve already seen this but I instantly thought of Lucy when I spotted it ❤️ http://m.bodenusa.com/en-us/clearance/womens-view-all/sweaters/k0079-ppk/womens-pink-glasses-printed-sweater
yes someone sent that…so funny how similar it is to what we do!! On another, yet similar note, I asked Lucy this morning if she'd ever want to change to another color of glasses and she said, "NO WAY! Always red!" with a big smile. Glad she likes them so much!
Mixed metaphor and simile award. (1) Velvet running through (2)veins like (3) gold that are stronger than (4) cords and (5) ropes…"And I'm just forever grateful that I have those velvety beauty things running through my veins. And that more of them keep gathering. And that I realize they're precious…like gold. I love that they're running through my children's' veins too. And that they hold us together like no strong cords or ropes every could."
OH how I needed this today. I'm still in the thick of littles (4 ages 6 and under. Baby is one month). And today I was ready to hypothetically run away – just tired of the whining, the messes, the not listening, the business and monotony of cleaning up messes (what in the world is this and where did it come from?!) with a baby who seemingly needs to eat all the time.
I was in the throws of my frustration this afternoon when I glanced over just in time to see my 2 year old smashing his face against the sliding door trying to get my attention. Suddenly I had this clear realization that HE (and his 3 sisters) are what matters. That one day I would really miss scrubbing the little hands caked in chalk and dirt, and cleaning the windows that they slimed as they made their way to the sink. I would miss their snuggly little bodies warm next to me as we poured over their coveted "Pookie" books for the millionth time.
Yes, I'm there – and I so needed to read your perspective today. Thank you for saying it in such a beautiful way. (and don't you just LOVE Anna Quindlen's insight on motherhood?)
Definitely needed this today too. Thank you!