Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Last Time

As an employee of Clark County School District, my husband receives fun little perks now and again. One of those perks happens to be free admission for him and a guest on the first weekend of every month to Mandalay Bay's Shark Reef. Because we A) enjoy getting out of the house and B) enjoy free entertainment, we have spent many weekends in the past few years visiting the aquarium with our little family. At 20$ per ticket for admission for children five years and older, it would be difficult to justify so frequent an outing, so we took advantage of the opportunity, noting every so often that when our oldest child turned five, we wouldn't be able to go as a family anymore.

My oldest child turns five at the end of the month.

 16 month old Hannah on her first trip to Shark Reef

When I realized that we were going to be taking our last weekend trip to Shark Reef as a family, my heart broke a little. We are entering into a new phase of life in our family. Sure, my husband will still be able to take our kids by himself, but things are shifting. Hannah will be heading off to kindergarten, Paige is starting preschool, and Sam adds a whole new dynamic to our family. Our family of three too quickly became a family of five, and I feel that I can't blink because I'm in danger of missing something vital. 

Five year old Hannah at the same spot

With my kids growing at an alarmingly rapid rate, I find myself feeling nostalgic for the difficult, but simple stage of infancy and toddlerhood. Now that I'm facing school, sports and music lessons, drop off play dates, and generally letting go, I'm thinking of the days where my most important obligation was story time at the library, or a picnic at the park. 

This poem keeps coming to mind:

"Babies Don’t Keep"

By Ruth Hulburt Hamilton 
Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

I'll admit, there are times when I've let distractions take me away from enjoying my babies, and that's okay. It's impossible to sponge up every precious moment and bottle it, and life needs to be taken care of. I don't have regrets. It doesn't mean that it isn't going to be painful to watch my daughter walk into her kindergarten classroom, and I'll still hate when my preschooler stops saying "tootie" and corrects herself, calling it a "cookie." Growth and change are painful, but still incredible. It's a beautiful ache.  

1 comment:

Meg said...

Well, you just made me cry. Thanks a lot.