"I got this."
Last night my four year old told me he didn't need help getting into bed or under the covers. My three year old clung to me. I'm struck by their differences, their personalities, where they are in their lives, the gaps in their ages, between the mommy hold me and the no mommy, I got this.
Logically I know these moments are fleeting. Sometimes I feel it. And sometimes I feel like I'm doing good just to get their faces washed and teeth brushed. There is so much day to day that I struggle to get accomplished, so much living in the moment that I forget to stop and imprint on my memory how small they are when I hold them, how their hands fit in mine.
Graham will be five in December. It goes by fast and I was warned that it would, I know that it does. But when they're so close in age it's hard to stop when they rarely do and I forget that we'll all survive this stage, which still feels like survival mode, and the next, until we reach the point where they don't need me the way they do now.
I'm looking forward to that, to not chasing them through the grocery story when Graham goes one way and Sloan another. Or asking them not to touch everything they see and my constant mantra will no longer be maybe next time baby. But I already miss the tiny way they fit against my shoulder and neck, that first gummy smile, the first tooth, and first steps. How they are, how they were, how they will be.
I love and struggle though each stage; wonder how I will survive sleepless nights and occasionally write about their childhood so I will remember it better, so that I can burn into my memory the longest on going story ever about his day at pre-k or her favorite doll.
Doing it alone is hard; to be all things when they are with me, to balance the love and discipline and life lessons. I want to give them everything they need and some of what they want. I worry constantly that it's not enough, that I'm failing. But people say if you're worrying about those things then you're not doing such a bad job.
It's been creeping up on me that Graham is more a little boy every day. It's the small things; it's the first time he said I got this, it was when he walked into class without glancing back.
I cried as Sloan let me rock her, pretended I wasn't when Graham asked me if I knew he'd had a time out at school this week. And loving them took up the whole world and stole my breath and it hurt, but it was a good hurt. It was the hurt of recording each precious second and not taking for granted the way love me; so undeserving and so imperfect and hoping that they'll understand when they're older that I did my best.
I grew up with my parents saying I love you miles high, grain elevators full, city blocks long. Before I shut the door (they request I leave it cracked and I do even though I know they'll both use it as an excuse to sneak out of their room without the door creaking and giving them away) I say it to them, I hear my mom and dad say it, feel it. And now they say it too, their echo following me down the hall.
City blocks long.