Today marked the day of three of the most dreaded words in the English language: Summer Is Over. Back to school went many of the children across the state of Missouri, including mine. I proudly plastered photo collages of my children all over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. As unbelievable as it seems, my baby is in high school. High school. It doesn’t seem possible and yet the reality is undeniable. It seems like just yesterday the tiny faces in those pictures were looking up at me and now all of my children tower over me. It went by in a heartbeat. A millisecond. In the blink of an eye.
Twenty-one years ago, when I first became a mother, I was living in northern California in a small town near Napa. Once a month, there was a Tea Dance at the Community Center. The young and old would co-mingle for an afternoon of refreshments and ballroom dancing. It was delightful! My very best friend Mimi (we met at a Lamaze childbirth class; she had her daughter shortly after I had my son) and I took our newborns to one of these Tea Dances. I can remember sitting in the lobby, breastfeeding our little babies, two timid first time mothers trying to navigate our way through unfamiliar territory. Two elderly ladies came over to us. They smiled knowingly, women who had been there, done that, but long ago put those tee shirts away. They heralded experience and were anxious to share with us things that were good to know.
Much of the advice bestowed upon new mothers is the kind which suggests doing things a certain way. Make sure they sleep on their tummy, don’t let them have the bottle in the crib. But these veteran mothers had a different message. It was simple and to the point. Mimi and I didn’t completely buy into it at that particular moment in time. In fact, it may have seemed a little far fetched. But from where we are standing now, it all makes perfect sense.
Melle and Mimi All Those Years Ago
They told us to enjoy every single minute. That was their advice. Enjoy it all because it would go by quickly, before we even realized it, they assured us. They promised us that in no time at all, we would be standing where they were, giving new mothers the very same words of wisdom.
I’ve never forgotten that because it DID go by fast. I never expected it to, never believed it was possible. In a blink of an eye, my babies grew up. Now when a baby announcement pops up on Facebook, the first thing I always tell new mothers after “Congratulations” is “Enjoy every minute!” I savored every moment just as I promised those ladies I would all those years ago at the Tea Dance. I’m so grateful to them for pointing out such an important part of being mother: It goes by fast. Enjoy!