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.