We took the boys to Freddie's for ice cream after dinner last night. It was an AMAZING 80+ degree day and we enjoyed some time outside and thought ice cream was the perfect way to end the day.
As Ben was eating our small lemon cone (that we were supposed to be sharing), I was wiping drips off of his shirt and suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks: There will be a day sometime in the not so distant future that it will be weird for me to be wiping drips from his shirt and sharing an ice cream cone with him.
I kept coming back to that thought . . . someday, both of my boys will be grown adults. They'll no longer need me to do their laundry, wipe their chins, give them baths, pick out their clothes or lift them into the car. Someday, going out for ice cream with our boys will be going out for ice cream with two grown adults.
This time we have with them as toddler/preschooler is fleeting.
About 2 minutes after these thoughts started, I took the ice cream cone from Bennett to lick some of the rogue drips. Naturally, this caused him to throw himself off the bench and scream "YUM! YUM! YUM!" which we all know is 18-month-old speak for, "Hand me the ice cream cone, Mom, and no one will get hurt." Everyone was staring, but I didn't care. I've become so used to these temper tantrums that I'm no longer embarrassed by them.
Instantly, another thought hit me: I will not HAVE to wipe their chins forever. Someday, I will no longer have to pick their hysterical little bodies up to leave a store before I'm done shopping. Someday, I will get to have a family dinner in which my food doesn't get cold before I start eating. Someday, they'll wipe their own chins. On the days that I think I can't handle it anymore, it's comforting to remember that this will not last forever.
In some ways, it's all passing too quickly. In others, I'd like to hurry it along.
I think the moral of the story, whether you have kids or not, is this: Be fully present in each day, cherishing each precious moment, because things will someday change. Also, be encouraged in the tough moments because . . . things will someday change.