A comment I encounter frequently, often by well-meaning, older women is, "Someday you'll look back and wish that your kids were still little."
I get the concept. Time flies, childhood is fleeting, this time is precious. I get it. I do.
However, I reject the notion that this is the pinnacle of my life, and that everything is downhill from here. I reject the idea that it is not okay to occasionally feel bored, frustrated, or downright exhausted. I reject the whole notion that I will never be as happy, as content, or as needed as I am right now.
Because the whole idea, dear readers, is bogus.
I look back and literally have to catch my breath when looking at Owen's baby pictures. He was so squishy, so utterly delicious. He would sleep in my arms for hours: a warm, sweet-smelling blanket. Every milestone--first smile, first steps, first laugh, filled my heart with warm, gushy luuuuuuv.
When Joel smiles upon seeing his beloved bottle, or when he rubs his soft face against my shoulder,catlike and methodical, it is a purely physical response. I feel the love flow from my head to my toes, a jolt of electricity, a rush of pure adoration. It's powerful. It's biological.
Yet, I do not wish for my children to remain babies. I love Owen exactly the age he is right now, and I don't look back. I love Joel exactly the age he is now, and I don't look back.
When the boys are in elementary school, and our lives are a blur of homework, Cub Scouts, and soccer practices, that is exactly where I want to be.
When the boys are in middle school, beautiful in their awkward orthodontia and too-big feet, I will love them because they need advocates, and they are mine. That is exactly where I want to be.
When the boys are in high school, and Paul and I are too strict, too out-of-touch, and too hopelessly uncool, that is exactly where I want to be.
And yes, when we're sitting around the table during a break from college, and the boys are speaking to us with the authority and disdain only a nineteen-year-old can muster, I will look them in the eye and pretend that everything they are saying is fresh and original. It is exactly where I want to be.
When they are out of the house for good, I will certainly have moments where I will miss the tender softness of Joel's hand in mine, or Owen's smile of pride when he does something "all by himself." But I will not live in the past, and I will be content.
Because living peacefully, regardless of the season of my motherhood? That is exactly where I want to be.