Not enough hours

I don’t have a job anymore, so I’m home every day with plenty of time spent with my thoughts. The wonderful thing about this is that I have much time to ponder life. Though there are a thousand things I could do (like, hey, clean the floors more often), I find that the time flies while Mason is at nursery school (it’s only for a couple hours), and then fly even faster till it’s time to pick Story up. The house is clean enough, the laundry is in constant rotation, the meals are prepared, and fun happens. But there are never enough hours. And I’m not actually talking about the hours to “get stuff done”. I’m talking about the hours I get to spend with my kids.

Minutes turn to hours, which become days and weeks. Months go by and I watch my children grow up. I can’t believe my daughter is already six, and I am absolutely certain that tomorrow I’ll wake up and she’ll be thirty years old. Gone are the days when I could choose her clothes, or answer for her. Independent and opinionated, confident and assured is she. My son was just born, but I’m planning his third birthday party. Third birthday. He is already daunting and carefree, curious and adventurous. Those sleepless nights when he was so sick as a newborn felt like they’d never end, but are now a distant memory. I know what my parents mean now; time certainly does fly.

When I hold their hands, I want to permanently imprint the feeling into my palm. Their soft fingers wrapped delicately around my own; intertwined, innocent and trusting. I stroke their heads and caress soft cheeks while they sleep, committing these scents and feelings to permanent memory. I watch as their chests rise and fall with sweet breaths, and see eyelids flutter, behind them great dreams taking place.

I watch them fully invest imaginations in play, alone and together. I see their love for one another, as my daughter reaches out for my son’s hand, or my son asks when his sister will be home to play.

They devour knowledge and I try to steer them on the path of kindness, to teach them to forgive, be patient, and to never stop wanting to know more.

I want more hours spent rolling in laughter on the floor. More time teaching them about the wildlife in our backyard, and seeing their eyes fill with wonder at such simple pleasures.

I get lost in the day-to-day of wanting this or that, seeking more or less, of wishing time away. Nothing material will ever replace the sound of their tiny voices saying my name: mommy.

They tell me funny jokes and I keep them in a file. Their first pieces of artwork, saved. I listen to them, and revel in their thoughts, replaying conversations through my mind whenever it’s quiet and I want comfort. Each kiss with faces turned upwards, each hug from small, yet strong arms, each snuggle and request to be picked up is answered happily by me and cherished. I know these days are short and in no time, the kisses will be metered out scarcely and nobody will be begging me to play.

If I had a genie, I’d wish for more time. Forever more hours with my amazing children.

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14 thoughts on “Not enough hours

  1. This post actually filled my eyes with tears Alex – because I’m right there with you thinking those exact same thoughts every waking hour I’m with my boys these days and already mourning their childhood before they’ve even left it. Realizing that by their evolution and “going forth” that I’m just going to be in the same place longing for those fleeting moments of “remember when?”. It is a bitter sweet place to be – this wanting to see them grow and explore and experience but knowing that in doing so they take one step further out of our grasp.

    1. You’re right, it is so bittersweet. I’m so in love with who they’re becoming, but. . . yeah. Bittersweet.

  2. Beatifully written. It’s difficult to see the time fly past. I feel that too, but I promise you that each age brings opportunity to teach, learn and laugh.
    Some days I miss the small hand of my 5 year old, but then his (now) large 13 year old hand opens a book or helps his sister reach for something and I’m happy for the moments we are living.

    1. Thank you, I know you’re right. I do. I enjoy seeing them grow. I’m just having a moment. 😉

  3. Beautiful! I know exactly what you are saying. My baby is 6 months old today! Wasn’t Charlie just born how is my 2nd 6 months old! If you figure out how to slow down time let me know.

  4. I felt just the same way when my kids were small. I can hardly believe they are 14.5 and 18 now. I expressed similar thoughts in little letters to them, tucked away on my computer. I think I was about 10 years to early to be a mom blogger. 😉 Though I did moderate a board on iVillage’s Parent Soup too many years ago to count.

    It’s a cliché because it’s true: it goes so fast. I can still remember how time flew when my son was in pre-school, and my daughter in elementary. All the adventures we had, crafts we did, laughter and tears, proud moments and moments that if I could do over again, I would in a heartbeat. Moments that still shame me in the middle of the night sometimes. And yet they are resilient and loving, generous and funny. I was terrified that my relationship with my daughter would be forever altered once I had my second baby. It was so special that I thought it would be changed forever once another child came along. It wasn’t. Our lives were just enriched.

    I miss their soft little hands in mine. Now and then, my daughter will catch my hand at the mall or on a walk, and hold mine happily. My heart feels so glad. She will sometimes even sit on my lap when I’m on the couch, and have a silly moment cuddling with me for a stretch of time as we watch TV. It is a ridiculous sight since she is 5 inches taller than I am, and all arms and legs. My son thinks nothing of cuddling up against me on the couch, still, though I’m sure he’d be horrified if any of his friends knew this. They are always our babies. It is bittersweet when they grow up, for sure. You worry about whether you have prepared them well enough for the big world out there. There is always something you wish you would have instilled. Well, it isn’t too late.

    Sometimes I wish I could shrink-ray them back to being little again to enjoy a day like that. But I also enjoy how independent they are now. Parenthood, eh? What a journey.

      1. Me, too. I thought I was the only one who let moments of shame replay in the late of night. But all of it….good and bad is because I want them to look back on this time and know that it defined me, that it was me at my greatest, me at my happiest. Okay, gonna slink away from the computer and cry in the bathroom for a minute. Thank you, Alex, for this tenderhearted glimpse at motherhood. xo

  5. This is a really beautiful post, Alex. It doesn’t matter how wonderful we think our kids and our lives are at their current ages and stages; there will always be moments when we’re suddenly aware of how quickly time is passing, how quickly the years of their childhood have already passed, and it’s hard not to feel that deeply, isn’t it? Last week I wrote about how I found my 11 year old son’s basket of favourite stuffed animals (the ones that have lived beside his bed since he was very little) shoved in the back of his closet and covered with a backpack. 🙁 I felt like a little hole had been punched in my heart. Thankfully, he and his 8 year old brother remind me in many ways every day that there is there is still so much for me to discover about them, and so many kinds of joy yet to experience as I continue to watch them grow.

    1. Aw, Lisa, that would get me, too. I’ve always loved each stage they go through, I don’t want to forget that. 🙂

      But ohhh, they’re so amazing when they’re little.

  6. I first read this post a few hours ago, and while I really wanted to leave a comment then, I couldn’t. It struck too close to my heart and the deep ache I’ve been having lately.
    So now I’ve returned in a quiet mess of tears. I feel it too, the time passing, stealing the moments with my children. I returned to work full-time this past fall, after my maternity leave. The ache of missing my children, of coming home each day with only a few measly hours in the chaos of dinner, baths, and bedtime, is not enough. It doesn’t even begin to fill my cup.
    How to change this situation? I wish I had the answer. My hubs and I are talking about moving houses, making changes so I can be home with our children. In the meantime, as the alarm goes off each work morning, I feel like another day with my little boys is passing by too quickly.

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