These are the Golden Years

I had an epiphany the other night. I have been mulling over it for the last couple of days. I was laying in bed after nursing my youngest daughter and couldn’t fall back asleep. I was just listening to the quiet house and the stillness of it all. It had been a bit of a tough day. I had been cranky with zero patience. I didnt really engage with the girls and I pretty much just griped at them all day while I counted down to bedtime. But as I layed there in the stillness of the house, I felt sad. I missed them. The guilt came crashing down on me as I realized what the day must have looked like from their perspective. I wanted to just run into their rooms and whisk them out of bed and hold them in my arms. I realized that one day the house will always be as quiet and still as it was at 2am. There won’t be anymore sticky kisses and small arms squeezing around my neck. I have only 14 years until I start the process of kids leaving, and a short 18 years before they are all gone. And realistically, I stop being the ‘apple of their eye’ quite a few years before they turn 18.

The epiphany that I had was that these are the golden years. I have been living too much into the future. And to be quite honest, I have always been this way. I am a planner at heart. But the bittersweetness of that mentality is that I am usually always looking 5 steps ahead instead of being in the present. On more than one occasion I have found myself saying “I cant wait until they are -blank- age because then we can do -blank-.” or “Once we reach -blank- milestone, maybe things will be easier.” I realized that I am wishing away these years. And it hit me like a ton of bricks. My whole life I have wanted to be a Mom. You can ask any of my elementary and middle school teachers. On those assignments of ‘What do I want to be when I grow up,’ I always had Mom at the top of the list.

And I have come to find out that Motherhood is freaking hard. There have been many days where I just wanted to lock myself in my room to be left alone for five minutes and not be needed, or split up a fight, or clean another mess, or change/wipe another poopy tushy.

But while I am in the throes of holding the fort down and surviving… I forget to enjoy. To slow down. To turn off autopilot. I don’t want to live in the future and miss out on the very moments I waited my whole life for. THESE are the years where we will all sit around the table and go “remember how great we had it when we were all together?”
I don’t want those times to be “remember when Mom was always on her phone?” or “Mom was always yelling at me,” or “I don’t really remember us doing anything fun other than watching tv.”
I saw an article on Facebook about a second grader who wrote about wishing the phone was never invented because their mom doesn’t pay attention to them. It ripped my heart out. Partially because I know that when I review my days, I see a lot of myself on my phone, or just simply zoned out to the tv or something else. Ive known it for a while and have done some attempts to change, but it hasnt really stuck.

And then I had my 2am epiphany. These are the prime years of my life. Not high school. Not college. NOW. These are the magic years. The years they still believe in Santa Clause and get giddy Christmas eve in their beds. The years where parks and splash pads are their bread and butter. The years of nursing snuggles, funny toddler comments, toothless grins, matching dresses, onesies, baby teeth, crazy curly haired blurs, piggy back rides, tea parties, dance parties, calling out for me to hold them at 3am, forts, stuffed animals, tiny painted nails, pb&j crustless sandwiches, coloring books, 3 car seat minivan adventures, and hearing “i love you so much momma.”

I want to soak in these next 18 years and jam pack them full of memories and smiles and hugs and laughter and conversations and love. Im by NO MEANS a perfect parent. I would be a fool to think I’ll never gripe at them again, feel overwhelmed, or want to lock myself in the bathroom for five minutes of peace. However, I am hoping that those will be fleeting moments. Far and few in between. Blips of needing to recenter myself and start fresh.

These are the years that I still have some influence and ability to affect my children’s decisions and teach them the things they need to know to help them navigate through life. This is my last year before Bailey starts full time kindergarten. My last year when all my babies are home more than they are gone. 18 years will go by in a blink. I mean, it’s already been 10 years since graduating high school. Adam and I have already been married almost 7 years. My oldest is already 4 years old…and it happened in a blink! And I know I am going to blink again and Sophie will be 18, Claire will be 20, and Bailey will be 22, and I will be left with a quiet house.

These are my golden years. And I will no longer wish them away.

These are our Bits O’ Bertoch.

Cassie Bertoch

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