Ugh. It happened. I became THAT mom at the playground. There was this little girl, maybe 18 months old. She was wearing a fuscia down jacket, floral leggings, and brown Uggs-style boots. I said to her mother, "Oh isn't she the cutest! I have 2 daughters, but they are 7 and 9 now. I just miss this age so much with my girls!"
Right after I said it I rolled my eyes to myself.
Thinking back to when my oldest 2 were little, specifically when my middle was 18 months and my oldest was 3.5…I remember thinking "This is not a time in my life that I will look back upon fondly". Potty training regressions with the big one, sensory meltdowns that would last for an entire day with the little one. Tired, lonely, never sure I was doing the right thing. Quite often when I found myself at a playground a parent with older kids would say "Oh your girls are the cutest! Enjoy every second because it goes by so fast!"
I get it. From the outside looking in...2 beautiful little girls dressed in sparkly tutus, rainbow legwarmers, rainboots, and Tinker Bell T-shirts twirling around the playground, exploding with giggles, looks pretty amazing and nostalgic to a mom with daughters on the edge of puberty. But for me it was a brief respite from the tantrums, self-doubt, and what I sometimes felt like was a self-made prison of nap times and snack breaks.
Hearing people telling me to enjoy every second, while well-intentioned, only solidified my belief that I was doing it all wrong since I was NOT enjoying every second. A lot of those seconds really sucked. And if I were to be entirely honest, I did not feel like it flew by. I feel like it has taken FOREVER to get here to this moment...because so much of it felt SO hard.
But here I am. On the other side. My girls are approaching the edge of puberty. Our afternoons are spent doing homework and chatting about real life things. No more rainbow legwarmers, and only sometimes do the twirly tutus make an appearance. Sensory issues have mostly been ironed out leaving things relatively even keeled.
My son, now at age 3, has been relatively easy given that I have a much higher level of confidence this time around. He is not yet pottying, so no regression to speak of, and he does not have the kind of meltdowns that can stop the day by 9am. He might climb and throw things I never would have imagined he could climb and throw, and he might never sit still for longer than half of Little Blue Truck. But even with that, nowadays, it’s not so bad.
But when I see little girls at the playground twirling in their tutus, the memories of my own girls doing just that pops into my memory and for a moment, man do I miss it. And I can’t help but think to myself, “Wow, it really does go by so fast”.