I present to you: a typical December school morning. To avoid the frantic rush of “Where are my shoes? Where is my coat?” I make them out on coat/shoes/backpack a good 10 minutes before we need to leave (because on any given morning we will use that entire 10 minutes finding these things)- and if they are quick enough, they can play the rest of the time. My coat is slung over the chair from the 6:20 bus stop run with my oldest (she doesn’t like walking down in the dark and asks me to drive her each morning). School papers and mail are all over the counter, along with coffee mugs and produce and who knows what else. A plastic Jack-o-lantern for trick-or-treating is full of random toys and socks, it’s left abandoned on the kitchen table. The kids are in deep conversation about legos.
These are the moments I don’t want to forget.
I’ve said it time and time again- the milestones are wonderful, but it’s these normal everyday moments that are magic to me. Maybe it’s my terrible memory. Maybe it’s because as an aphantasic, I can’t visualize. Maybe other people don’t feel this way- but I have a gut feeling that I am not alone.
My everyday life 5 years ago looked nothing like the scene above. My kids were 7, 5 and 1. While I view the kitchen pictured above as messy, it doesn’t hold a candle to the chaos my house existed in back then. My life was high chairs and nap schedules and elementary school buses. This phase of life was basically the max chaos stage. Maximum mess, maximum overwhelm, maximum cute baby thighs and we hadn’t yet experienced the tweenage stage.
My everyday life 5 years before that was drastically different. I had a 2 year old and a newborn. My house was dominated by baby swings and diaper changing stations and packs of wipes were everywhere. I didn’t sleep more than an hour at a time if I was lucky, and these tiny people loved me with their whole beings and were so dependent on me for everything. The thought of going a day without needing to come home for nap was foreign. The idea of leaving the house without 50 lbs of accessories was foreign.
And 5 years before that? A newlywed, sleeping as late as I wanted, staying out late, and living the life of no responsibility? I had no idea about the depth of love I had not yet experienced, but I slept well at night.
Life changes on the daily, but it does so in such small steps that we don’t usually notice until we stop and look back at how far we’ve come. Telling these stories- these small stories of normal life- help me find the joy in the mundane. They help me celebrate, right now, those moments that will eventually be nothing but nostalgia.