My daughter Sarah was at Target yesterday doing some shopping with baby Lennon (now nearing 10 weeks old). At the checkout lane she was behind a woman who was there with her college age son buying what appeared to be things for his dorm. As Sarah watched the mother and her son she recognized that someday she will be the mother buying things for her college-aged son. She momentarily imagined what it would be like and wondered if the other mother was looking at her and Lennon and remembering what it was like when her son was a baby.
After the woman and her son were done checking out, she turned to Sarah and said to her, “Enjoy every minute with him, they grow up so fast!” She went on to explain that she was there buying things for her son who was starting college. The moment – a new mother at the beginning of her journey and the mother who was now sending her son off to college – was a powerful one. Both the mothers became a bit teary-eyed there at the checkout line. It hung there as a moment in time that touched them both.
Sarah called me right after this experience and recounted it to me. She was very moved by it. She didn’t know the other mother but realized that they shared something as mothers there in the Target line that was meaningful.
It reminded me of a cartoon that my friend Annette shared on her Facebook page recently.
It rings so true. As young parents we push toward one milestone after another. That is our job right? We want to help our children grow up into responsible adults. We have 18 years to accomplish the task. 18 years sounds like an awfully long time when you are looking at an infant - you really cannot conceive how quickly the time will fly. Ah, but fly it does, and that mother at Target likely recognized just how quickly it passed in that moment. I think it was lovely that she shared that moment with Sarah. Sage advice from a mother who realizes how difficult it is for a new mother to think that 18 years will pass quickly.
In the heart of every mother are the imprints of small chubby-fingered hands that used to hold her hand tightly. Those imprints never fade no matter how old her children become. And every once in awhile, there is a sweet melancholy that comes over mothers as they recall the joy in the days they spent with their children while they were home and under foot. Alas, the time passes quickly while we are living our day-to-day lives and children grow up (as children do).
As the mother of the college-aged son said - enjoy every minute with your child (and I add – even the minutes spent with the teenager who looks at you like you are an alien); and, when your child grows up and heads off to college make sure you tell the same thing to the young mothers you see. Let them know – the time, it flies by.
Day one thousand one hundred and forty-three of the new forty – obla di obla da