The Laundry Can Wait
Sitting here, right now, looking back at how my life has so drastically changed over the lat two years completely blows my mind. Even more alarming, when I was present in those days, they seemed to be dragging and now here we are, less than three weeks from the Duo turning two. It's funny isn't it? How when we look back at moments in life we feel a simultaneous rush of "it feels like so long ago" and "where did the time go"... I've learned a lot about life and laundry in these last two years; let me share.
Our sweet babies were transferred on November 11th, 2016; two perfectly thawed, five day embryos. Nine days later we got the call that I was pregnant; just like that, the aching in our souls was put to rest with the news that we would be parents. On July 11th, 2017, Nolan and Adeline, in that exact order, made their entrance after a very forceful eviction and a grueling labor. It seems so very long ago, and yet as if it were yesterday.
We were thrust into our new role as parents as I believe every first time parent is. The nights blend into days and vice versa. You suddenly become a slave to this tiny person whom has no concept of time, life, the world; all they know is hunger and sleep. They flip your life upside down and inside out at the same time and while the adjustment and exhaustion feel as if they will consume you whole, it simply doesn't matter. Everything else in the world could completely fall away and it wouldn't matter one bit because this tiny work of perfection has come along and deemed everything else irrelevant.
You work tirelessly to find some kind of rhythm, feeling content when you have something that vaguely resembles a routine. In the blink of an eye, naps are dropped, feedings change, they're up and moving, and suddenly you're picturing them all packed up and heading off to college. When you're in the thick of it, you feel drained and beg time to pass so you can sleep at night, stop changing diapers, drink a cup of hot coffee. Then you see them reach a milestone and you beg Father Time to turn the clocks back. Parenting is the eternal conundrum.
I happened upon this picture today that reminded me of the importance of living in each moment that parenting provides. In March, at 20 months old, Nolan had woke very early from his nap, screaming. Our kids have slept through the night since they were three months old and only occasionally wake during nap or night sleep. We have always operated under the practice of letting the kids cry a bit before rushing in to get them to teach them the concept of self soothing. This cry, however, begged of me to immediately go get him; it was a horrific cry.
I went in and picked him up feeling thankful he hadn't woke Adeline but terrified for him. He was clearly very worked up about something and also still very tired. I went to the couch in their room, laid him on my chest, in his sleep sack, and proceeded to snuggle him back to sleep. I gazed into his melty, slate blue eyes as he slowly drifted off to a dreamy land, as if to tell him that he was safe in my embrace.
As we laid together and his breaths got deeper and farther apart, my mind started to wander to the full laundry basket sitting on the couch that awaited folding. Nap time is when I get shit done! My days are very structured and my hunger for a clean and orderly home is fed Monday through Friday during nap time. I require an orderly home and I achieve that very thing between the hours of noon and three. There I laid at 1:15 having only completed half of my housework for the day and I could feel the anxiety creeping up on me.
I focused my mind on Nolan's breathing and matched mine to it. My mind began to drift and I found myself recalling tiny moments with him over the last 20 months. I remembered our very first days together in the NICU and replayed his coos as a tiny newborn. I pictured him eating squash for the first time and his first swim in a big pool. I thought back to his first time rolling, crawling, walking; it seemed as if it were a lifetime ago.
My eyes welled up as I recalled him doing this very same thing just before midnight the night before his first Birthday. And just as I had during this nap, I went in, swooped him up in my arms, and rocked my baby boy to sleep, only this time, for the very last time as an infant. As we laid there in that nap time moment, breathing in cadence, I turned to look at him again and my heart felt as if it could burst; for these children, we had prayed.
All the laundry in the world wasn't going to tear me away from this snuggle, this memory, this perfect moment. Each of those snippets that flooded my mind as I snuggled Noli that day served as a gentle reminder that they are little for such a very small amount of time. The things in life that matter most aren't things or to-do lists but rather moments. As parent's we get one year of infancy, three toddler years, six school age years, two preteen years, and six teenage years. That's 18 years, under our roof, to make memories, discipline, govern, guide, inspire, lead, and love these blessings which have been bestowed upon us.
Within those 18 years there will be firsts, lasts, successes, set backs, loves, heartbreaks, parenting wins and parenting fails. Whatever the circumstance, whatever the stage, the laundry can always wait! They are small for such a short time and we only have one chance, 18 very short years with them right beside us, to pack away as many treasured moments as we can. So gobble up the laughs, the tears, the sleepless nights, the temper tantrums, the milestones, the snuggles, and the endless family moments because if I can promise you one thing, it would be this: the laundry will still be there tomorrow!