"The days are long but the years are short" is a quote from Gretchen Rubin. She must be in my head.
Two nights ago, my son found an old video on the iPad we share. It was taken when he was three.
It's only 20 seconds long. He watched it over and over. And over and over and over (x20) again. I sat there with him. Tears in my eyes as his three-year-old self acted silly for the camera, blowing raspberries (you know, that loud lip-born release of air that babies love so much) on my cheek.
I felt ambushed by emotion. Remembering that time in my life. How it felt that everything around me was moving so fast that it was blurry. How sleep deprived I still felt as I balanced a job I loved, a marriage still making sense of three instead of two, a new town, and this new little person who needed shoes tied, games played, baths given, and food cut.
As I watched the video, first I smiled. Then, I cried.
What had I missed in those years? The sheer act of keeping my head above water had meant bleeding out the joy that was in these days.
I'd hear people say, "You can never get these days back" and I remember thinking, "I don't want these days back. They are long, they are hard, and I'm barely hanging on to who I am." I felt like I was a person-shell and what had been 'me' before motherhood had vaporized or taken a long vacation to Cairo escaping with the version of my fully-rested, dream-embodied, quiet-loving self.
But now, I want those years back.
This time, I want to be there to inhabit them.
I want to recognize the gift of the 'raspberry moments'. I want to laugh harder, play longer. I also want to honor what I needed then and didn't give myself...time to refuel.
Sadly, time doesn't work that way. At least not yet.
The only days I'll get back are the ones that are named today.
That gentle, happy boy no longer blows raspberries, but he creates digital worlds he wants to show me. He kicks soccer balls and makes up games. He wants to shoot me with NERF bullets and show me his strong, martial arts kicks.
This day, I'll reconcile with my heart. I'll suspend time to tune in. I'll quiet the blur of busy around me to look in his eyes so we will remember. So we will feel, and see, and think this moment. So the video replay in five years will strike a different heart-spot within me - one without regret, shame or loss.
May this day be long.