The days are long, but the years are short
So much meaning in one little sentence...
In a couple of days Xav turns three.
Everyone tells you that time somehow fast-forwards when kids are growing up. I think I’m really lucky because I had some experience of this before he was born. My youngest brother was born when I was 15 and we bought him his first (legal) drink in February. It feels literally as though five minutes ago I was holding my baby brother for the first time when he was 20 minutes old, so I already knew I wanted to make every day count with Xav.
I do my best to remember this vow. At some point in every day I remind myself to be mindful of the fact that he will never be this age again. I stop and take pictures and video so we can cherish the small moments. I get down on his level and try to see the world from his beautiful, innocent, happy perspective.
But that’s not easy to do when you wake up after yet another interrupted night’s sleep to begin what you wish didn’t feel like Groundhog Day.
Inevitably you feel like telling the little voice saying “These are precious times” where it can stick it when you’re knee-deep in toddler negotiations wondering whether it’s acceptable to swig gin at 9.45am.
Then the guilt arrives. I berate myself for thinking this way. Many people would give anything to be in my privileged position. I’ll look back on this time and wish I could be back here.
The problem I have is that I know it’s perfectly normal that I don’t cherish EVERY moment.
How could anyone cherish every moment? That’s not realistic. No-one does.
When I read or heard the saying “The days are long, but the years are short” for the first time I couldn’t believe how perfectly it summed my life up.
Our days are long. Our days are messy, complicated and exhausting. They’re also filled with fun, beauty and wonder all at once. This is the whole truth of what it means to be a parent.
And yet I meet so many mums (and dads) who skirt around this truth and feel that somehow they’ll be judged as inadequate if they admit the full extent of their feelings.
Wouldn’t it be incredible if we could give ourselves permission to answer honestly when someone starts this kind of conversation?
Yes, it’s true that time goes too fast. That every single day my precious little legend boy does something that makes me want to stop time dead in its tracks and stay suspended in that moment forever. That I stare at him and marvel that I get the privilege of being his mum. That I’m excited about the adventures we’ll have together and be forever be grateful for everything he has already taught me.
But it’s also true that most days I wonder at some point what the hell has happened to my life and that I find the contrast between the monotonous demand for routine and my formerly-unpredictable life suffocating. That I quite often feel trapped in my own existence that I have willingly and purposefully created. That I regularly mourn the loss of the freedoms I used to take for granted.
These are both sides to my truth, and I am sharing them with you in the hope of helping you to be honest and proud about yours. We shouldn’t fear being judged because we’re all navigating the same path the best way we can.
The days are long, but the years are short. I’ve found so much meaning and reassurance in this one sentence.