I’ve had the relatively same experience a few times recently. It goes something like this:
Me out and about with my kids, usually holding one, chasing another. One might be crying, or screaming, or kicking; most definitely someone is running. I am probably trying to do something totally unreasonable like feed them a meal in public or run an errand to Staples. A kind middle-adged mother, whose kids are now starting college, looks at me and smiles. Then she says with empathy,
“I remember those days.”
I wasn’t sure what to think about these comments at first. Sure, she looks empathetic, but what is she really thinking? Is she wishing for “those days” again? (Impossible!) Is she so relieved that they are over? What prompted her to say that? (Oh yeah, the scene we are making.) What is she thinking about me? Is she judging my “motherhood” skills? Are my kids that out of control? Do I look that stressed? (I probably do.)
But after all the conjecturing and worrying about how this little statement might reflect on my capability as a mother, I’ve come to this conclusion:
How could you not remember these days?
I spend three quarters of my day chasing kids, making PBJs, wiping dirty body parts, picking up cars, puzzle pieces, books, zoo animals…you get the idea. My most used lines lately are: “If you don’t (obey mommy) on the count of three…,” “No hitting,” “No pushing,” “No tackling,” “If he’s crying that means he doesn’t like it,” “Now it’s Landon’s (Jacob’s) turn,” and others.
But then there are the good moments. The times when we snuggle up and “get cosy,” as Jacob says, and he “reads” a book to me. The times when Jacob actually does share, or he tries to boss Landon around by repeating my exact words. Or the times when Landon gives me the biggest smile, or wettest kiss, or says the absolute most polite “peeese” I’ve ever heard from a 17 month old.
These days may be a little sour at times, but they are also very sweet. And very, very memorable.