In much the same way, I've been noticing all the little kids I see; so many babies and toddlers helping their moms shop in the store, leaning just far enough out of the seat in the grocery cart to reach candy so temptingly placed in their path; or my 1½ year-old nephew, who has a new talent every time I see him. One day he's drooling over his sippy cup and the next day he's walking - no - running all over the place, giggling and playing peek-a-boo.
It seems like yesterday that my own two little monkeys were perched in that grocery cart playing with whatever contraband they'd plucked off the shelf, or running around living room furniture, playing hide-and-seek, and giving me those long-lashed flirty blinks that my nephew now sends blushingly over to my sister-in-law. The look only a little boy could give to his mother that says it'll be a long time before he's in love with anyone but her.
I see these little ones, and I'm instantly transported back in time. You know, you never appreciate anything while it's happening. It's only after the moment has passed do you realize how special it was. When my boys were small, people told me all the time, "Enjoy them while they're little, 'cause it goes by fast!" And here you are: still haven't lost your baby weight, haven't had any sleep, constantly covered in some sort of baby slime, your little angel is screaming his head off, you haven't had a minute to yourself in ages, and you roll your eyes thinking: Not fast enough.
And the next day you're taking your son to tour colleges. He's getting ready to graduate high school, has a job and his own car. Answers every question with "whatever" and can text 80 words per minute. Your youngest is riding his dirt bike down the street, much to the chagrin of the neighbors, listens to everything from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin on his ipod, and surfs the web looking for a cool drum set and a Ferrari to haul it in.
The same little boys would curl up next to you in bed, begging for just one more story. Beamed with smiles if you showed up to help in their class at school. Cranked up your old Phil Collins CDs and played air guitar with your kitchen broom. Convinced you that this time the goldfish from the school carnival would live longer than a week.
It used to be Blues Clues, and now it's Step Brothers. They used to get excited over a new box of crayons and a jar of bubbles. Now everything is stupid, they tell each other to shut up, and see who can fart the loudest.
But if I've learned anything, it's to appreciate even these times. Bickering, eating like pigs, hip-hop music, pants worn too low, homework battles, messy rooms, Jersey Shore and constant references to bodily functions. Yes, >sigh< even these moments are special. Why? Because while today I am wistful for the days when my boys were toddlers, and the mere sight of a two-year-old playing with a balloon makes me weep, ten years from now the sight of two fighting teenage brothers will probably have the same effect.
I can't believe how fast it's gone by, I cherish the present, and can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring. I just wish it would go slower.
But wait...I started this post with my horse. How did I end up in a blubbering mess about my kids? (And I am a blubbering mess, believe me. It's not pretty. Be glad you're not here right now).
It's cyclical, I guess. Maybe that's why clocks are circular. Everything goes, and then comes back around. Your baby horse growing up will remind you of babies in the supermarket that remind you of your kids growing up. You will cry. And then a new baby horse will be born. And it will all start over again.
Keira decided she needed to be born in the middle of a rainstorm at two in the morning. It was simply an amazing thing to behold. Within minutes, she was up and walking, and bonding with her mother. Such a cool thing to see, and we can't wait to see how this year's baby will enter the world.
And to all of you moms and moms-to-be out there, cherish each moment, 'cause it goes by fast!