How many times have you caught yourself saying this to your child? One? One hundred? For myself, I’ve lost count and my son isn’t yet eight months old. It just seems every day this little person gets bigger, smarter and ready to just keep on growing. It’s a constant fear of mine that I will blink and he’ll be in school, I’ll go to sleep and wake up at his college graduation, he’ll go on a vacation with friends and show up married with children and then of course I’ll die. Now clearly I am overreacting but am I really?? So I say it, no I plead it, “slow down” and hope my baby boy will stay a baby just a while longer.
Last week though, when I uttered this over-used phrase I was talking to myself.
I was busy. When isn’t a mom? I had a house to finish cleaning, laundry to get done, dinner to prep, dogs with muddy feet and I was really hoping to squeeze in a work out for myself. So when Dean’s naptime rolled around I scooped him up to head to his room and get the routine going, chop chop. When we settled in, Dean in his sleep sack and me ready to nurse him, he was giggling and being silly, a most adorable sign that he is tired. I held him in my arms, ready to get to business and he just looked up at me and smiled. I melted. Into the ground, below the Earth I fell. His smile was so full of love, happiness and absolute contentment to be in his mama’s arms. “Slow down Mama,” I told myself. These moments won’t last. The cleaning, the laundry, dinner, the dogs – everything - can wait.
It was in that moment I realized that in all the times I was begging my boy to slow down, I myself was rushing. So I slowed down. Of all the parts of my day, nursing my son and rocking him to sleep were not the ones to rush or simply “get through”. I don’t have the power to slow down the clock of life, but I can savor the time I have. I grabbed my phone, snapped a picture and decided there was nowhere else I needed to be and nothing else I had to do. I studied my son’s face, rubbed his soft little arm and rocked until his droopy eyelids gave up the good fight and closed. And I stayed there. I don’t know how long I stayed, but I took my time before transferring him into his crib, figuring in no time at all, he won’t be little enough to fall asleep in my arms anymore. So I slowed down and made a promise to myself to stop rushing, except for when I’m doing the dishes, because I’ll never miss doing that.