To the Mama at the Pumpkin Patch,
Yes, you. I saw you. You had your tiny baby in a carrier and you were trying to make sure she was warm enough on this brisk fall day all while trying to sit comfortably on the wagon ride with your rambunctious toddler. You might have caught me staring out of the corner of my eye while my little girl was sitting calmly in my lap. No, I'm not a bitch, and I wasn't judging you. In fact, I was doing just the opposite, I was reminiscing- longing for the time that that was me. I was young, halfway frazzled, tired, and yearning for every holiday to be picture perfect. I did the pumpkin patch, had the perfect costumes planned out for weeks in advance for my kids- usually in a family theme, and had matching totes or buckets for each kid to happily trick or treat with.
But ya see, things change. This year as I sit quietly with my little one, she doesn't have on the perfect Halloween monogrammed outfit like her sister would have worn. Instead of being so excited about the trip and for this very wagon ride, I'm somewhat doing it to check the box- ya know just going through the motions making sure my little girl gets her special time- and to be honest, I am really thinking how many times am I going to have to go down that damn bumpy slide before we have to call it a day to meet the kids at the bus stop. Ya see, this is my third kid and she goes with the flow. There are times when we look at her and wonder if she's had a bath this week- Ya know, a real one where her parts were washed and she wasn't just playing in a tub full of bubbles while I brow dried my hair. Her Bubber and Sissy are in school and truth be told we have baseball and softball tourneys this weekend so the likelihood of this sweet little girl getting to carve a pumpkin is slim to none. And her costume will be bought at the last minute and won't be from that Chasing Fireflies catalogue and if she wants the tacky Paw Patrol costume, then so be it. My kids might even use plastic grocery bags for candy so I can save money and my son might just be a gangsta like he's been begging to be. No, not one with a dapper suit and gun, but one that sags his pants and is so politically incorrect it's not funny but the fact that he thinks it's something he can dress up as and not be makes this Mama happy. Oh yeah, and mainly because I can pull that one together for free- so don't shoot me.
Yes, I've been looking at ya because the chaos that you are living right now is precious. Part of me wants to bless your heart and the other part wants to just have that moment back for even a second. People will tell you all the time that it gets easier... but I'm going to tell you that that's a lie.
Life will get different. Not easier, not harder, just different. I'm still tired. I think I'll be tired for the rest of my life. My oldest turns eleven tomorrow. Every day I'm checking homework, worrying if someone has said something about his face breakouts, running him to and from practice, and praising Jesus he didn't get in trouble on the bus. My eight year old is into watching you tube videos and it drives my hubby and I nuts. We hope to goodness our parental controls are enough and I'm not gonna lie, I kind of follow this random Bratayley family right along with her. I want to cry when there are girl fights going on at school because yes, it starts as early as eight. Get ready for it. And last night when I said, "I love you morether." to her because that was we have always said to one another and she said, "Mommy, you know morether is not really a word," a little piece of my heart broke.
I look at you and I can't even imagine what the mothers of tweens, teens, college aged kids, and early twenty somethings look at me and want to think or say. I'm only a step ahead of you girlfriend and I have so much to go through and it's only just beginning. My kids first love, first heartbreak, proms, driving lessons, weddings... There is still sooooo much. As my kids grow, so does my love for them. Every second of every day- When I am disappointed, about to pull my hair out, ready to cry, bursting with pride, laughing from their jokes... every single second my heart swells and they don't even know it. Half the time, I don't even know it... As parents we countdown until bedtime and thank the Lord we made it through the day and don't realize it until moments like these how amazing parenthood really is.
So, yes, I'm looking at you. While you scramble after your snotty nosed toddler and are probably mapping out how you are going to cram in a diaper change, feeding, and get those two sweet babies home without dozing in the car so you can still take advantage of naptime, I will squeeze my own little girl and enjoy my time here at the pumpkin patch just like this is my first rodeo. She deserves it.
I will look at you and see myself. I won't tell you this too shall pass, better times are coming ahead, and I won't even tell you that you're going to miss this. If you notice me looking, I will tell you enjoy this moment in time because though you might not be thinking it now- we are the lucky ones.
Squeeze them, hug them, love them. It goes so fast.
The Mama who should have packed a sippy cup and have a hat on her kid because it's cold outside