Missing Them Now — By Laura Houston
It will go something like this: 15 years from now I will open a drawer or a cabinet door and the little yellow piece to the boy’s puzzle ball will fall out. I will stop breathing the moment it hits the floor and lands at my feet. “This stupid piece,” I will think. “I searched for it everywhere — under the radiator covers, in the couch cushions, and in the toy chest over and over again.”
Maybe I won’t recall my frustration about hunting down that damn little gold star, because 15 years from now I won’t remember the diapers and the whining and the constant “go” of motherhood. The boys will be off and school, and I will be alone in the house that they will soon be leaving when they go off to college. I’ll pick up that piece of missing plastic, and I’ll feel as lost as it has been all of this time.
They say it goes by so fast. It doesn’t feel that way most days. Especially this winter when I have been trapped inside with them on so many long, endless, boring days. Yes. That’s right. I said boring. Sometimes I find motherhood boring. Not often. But here in New York City where getting anywhere with two toddlers is a pain in the ass, I tend to give in and stay inside rather than face the freezing wind and icy playgrounds. After their naps, we go into the living room where I lie on the rug and watch the sun move across the floor while the boys fight over a toy, and I work hard to stay in the moment. I practice patience. I tell myself I won’t be here forever.
I want to stay present now so when that moment happens 15 years from now, I can survive it. But it’s not easy. Sometimes I find the afternoons to be so long I have to set the egg timer in the kitchen for 20 minutes, and in that 20 minutes I do not check email, talk on the phone or watch TV. I read to the boys. I breakup fights. I hunt for that damn gold puzzle piece that Lyle whines about daily.
I get that this is precious. Motherhood. Its sweetness. I know. I recognize I am sometimes frittering it away watching TV or reading CNN on my iPhone. I think the one gift being an older mother gives me is I understand how quickly time passes. I value time over all things. I’d rather have time than money. And the reason I want time is so I can spend it with these two little guys who genuinely like me and depend on me for all things. So I will fight my bad habits, my distractions, my additions to electronics. And I shall stay in the moment and start missing them right now.