Where The Grass Is Greenest
As I sit in this quiet, empty living room, listening to the faint hum of the noisemaker breathing through the baby monitor, I’m overcome with this deep fulfillment but also an unrelenting sadness. Most evenings, the countdown begins an hour before Cyrus’ bedtime. It’s a whirlwind of food bribing, bare hineys in the tub, reading the same book eight times over, and all the energy of a superhuman, two-year-old boy. By the time his bedroom door slowly squeaks shut and I hit the couch in a fit of exhaustion, the only emotion I’m experiencing is relief.
But tonight, as Cyrus sat in my lap, legs dangling past my knees, reading How Do I Love You, I was reminded of how fast he has grown. It’s a cliche every young mom kindly gets pointed out, often in the checkout lane of a local grocery store by a sweet, well-meaning older lady. And we all nod and smile in placid agreement, but our tired eyes tell a different story. Because really, we are in the battlefield--often way too deep in the thick of things to experience thoughts like that. Survival is the name of the game and success is typically measured by making it through the day using as few expletives as possible. (If I can keep it under 3, I consider that day a win.) And it’s sad because we don’t realize how true those words are until it’s already happened. Somewhere amidst the pandemonium of parenthood, among all the sleepless nights and tear stained eyes and skinned up knees, they were growing up, right before our very eyes.
Last month, Cyrus celebrated his 2nd birthday. A lot of people’s response to that statement has been, “oh, get ready,” or some sort of a disparaging apology because two-year-olds are supposedly the devil’s minions. And while I have certainly witnessed first-hand evidence that would lend quite a bit of credence to that theory, it honestly just makes me sad. It makes me sad that comments like that merely serve to incite an attitude of dread. What if, by that assessment, I were to mentally write off these next couple of years as a wash, collecting tantrums and hard days as currency for an inevitably difficult season? What if, in the process, I unwittingly had my eyes shut to the beautiful reality of this tiny human literally flourishing before me.
Because the truth is, there is going to be an ample mixture of both horrific and magical moments. On the one hand, there will be communication breakdowns and potty training and refusing to eat food for the most ludicrous reasons. But on the other hand, Cyrus is entering a season psychologists call “word explosion” where he is literally taking in and regurgitating astounding amounts of information. Having conversations with him is currently one of the greatest joys of my life because I can see the wheels turning in his eyes as he tries so very hard to explain what he just saw with a limited vocabulary. Guys, it’s incredible and often pretty hilarious.
Here I am, wishing away critical, beautiful months of life, truly believing that the grass is greener in this “other” proverbial season down the road, and it’s just not true.
All this to say, whether you are wading the waters of young parenthood or kids are currently a foreign concept way in your future, please don’t write off this season you are in. If I had a dollar for every time I told my husband “I’m just so ready to graduate,” well...school would have paid for itself by now. But here I am, wishing away critical, beautiful months of life, truly believing that the grass is greener in this “other” proverbial season down the road, and it’s just not true. The grass is greener where you water it. So do whatever you need to do to make sure you are watering that grass right here, right now, in this quiet little moment.