Right now, as I type, I have a 2 year old happily doing a puzzle by my feet, with her tongue poking out between her lips ever so slightly in concentration. She smells of baby lotion and shampoo and is wearing cuddly soft pajamas. In another room is a 4 year old playing with a dollie and putting on her pajamas as well, having had a shower earlier today. In the last bedroom is a 6 year old who I was just about to reprimand for ignoring my calls for bathtime for the last half hour, when he came walking happily out of the bathroom, clean and wrapped in a towel and ready to put on his jammies... He'd listened the first time and I didn't even know it. This is a beautiful moment in my house. A soft breeze is coming in through the window. The dishwasher is swishing. It's quiet and happy.
A mere four hours ago I had a pile of dishes in the sink that was growing rapidly as I kneaded 4 loaves of sourdough bread, and while I was distracted by the bread I had a 4 year old rub her head in lotion and then cut off half her bangs (fortunately the underside, so there was still a layer over them and it's not very apparent), a 6 year old who has had the stomach flu for 2 days and keeps needing help cleaning the bathroom, and a 2 year old who will not stay in her bed and therefore had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to her crib for naptime. It was hectic, it was frustrating, it was hot, and I felt like I was just barely afloat.
What a difference a few hours makes. (and perhaps a plate of cookies from a neighbor.) I need to remember that during those awful moments that I feel like I'm failing or that I'm inadequate or that I'm crying or screaming or both. As my grandmother always says, "This Too Shall Pass." It all passes. The chopped hair, the stomach flu, the potty training and naptimes, the ups, the downs, the tears and screams, and even the quiet soft breezes and baby lotion smells. The trick for me, is to remember that these moments are going to be the memories I look on with fondness for the rest of my life, and not to let my own distractions fill my memory bank with TV shows and Facebook. I want to think about these years and remember my kids--screaming and hair cutting and vomiting and all.