When I was younger, I can remember accusing my mom of getting what I dubbed as “Mom Eyes” from time to time. I would be doing something completely mundane, and look up to find her gazing at me with glossy eyes and an almost dream like expression on her face. At the time I was an angsty 13 year old and didn’t get it, so I’d just tell her to stop being weird before going back to my homework. But as a mom now, I find myself in that same state more often than I care to admit. Pausing to freeze a moment I know I won’t get back, while at the same time lamenting so many of them I know I’ve already mentally frozen and forgotten.
Most recently it came when I was putting my not-so baby sized baby to bed on a random Tuesday night. I went in for our usual goodnight hug, and as his arms squeezed around my neck just a little tighter than usual it hit me like a ton of bricks. When we came out of the hug he asked me why I was happy crying (a term we’ve had to coin in our house because I get “Mom Eyes” a LOT). I couldn’t tell him it was because I knew one day he wouldn’t hug me like that or ask for a second story at bedtime or for me to stay just a little longer. That one day all I’d have was the hope I’d soaked that hug in enough right there and then. So instead I just said what I always do – that I loved him so much it couldn’t help but spill out my eyes, and then went downstairs to finish folding the laundry.
We’re all worried about saving our kid’s childhood enough before it’s gone, and if you’re anything like me you get a heavy heart anytime you think of how quickly it’s passing by. We can’t stop time from rushing past in its beautiful swirl of chaos, but we can make sure we take a time out every now and then to savor its sweetest parts. The way their laugh sounds now. The silly games they play and the funny personality quirks that come with their age. The random tight hugs from arms that still have to stretch a little to reach around your neck.
So whether you document it yourself or invite us into your home to save it for you, I genuinely hope you take some time soon to bottle up the magic that is your kids right here and now. Future you will be so thankful to spend a little more time with them down the road.