“You sure have your hands full, don’t you?”
Or — The weird, inexplicable passing of time with young children
This is something I heard daily when I had three daughters under the age of 3. And 4 and 5 and 6…every damn day some older woman would look at me struggling in the parking lot or grocery store, and without fail would comment, “You sure do have your….”
That, or this: “You’ll look back on these days and miss them! These are the tender moments you’ll cherish…” To which I would reply (in my head), “No. Nope. I absolutely won’t, woman.”
Ha! I was right. I sure as shit don’t miss those “tender moments”, and when I see young mothers struggling in the grocery store or on the street with multiple little ones, I have no urge whatsoever to admonish them to cherish these tender moments, or to point how full her hands are. I recognize that glazed look in her eyes! I know she’s struggling, and tired, and in need of a bath. Or a cocktail. Or a bath of cocktail.
Number 3 on the most smackable, ubiquitous comments list was, “Cherish the time you have with these little ones! Time goes by so fast….”
To which I’d reply (in my head):
They were actually right about that, in a way, though. While the days did creep by, the years actually have flown. And to be honest, I barely remember those first few years.
My girls are now all in various stages of early puberty. I still “have my hands full”, but time moves along in a regular sort of rate these days. They were wrong about one thing: I don’t miss those days. AT ALL. I mean, yes, a house full of hormonal young girls can be is as horrific as you can imagine, and a toilet full of panty liners is only marginally less awful than trying to potty train three children at once. BUT — it is also more magical than I could have ever expected.
Fielding questions such as these:
Watching and talking to a child who is working out her sexuality and is brave enough to recognize and embrace the possibility that it could be…well, any number of things. But who isn’t bothered about it one way or the other? Just unsure.
Talking to any of them about novels that they’ve read that actually sound like something I’d like to read on my own. But still being able to read them at bedtime.
I think these are the magical times I’m going to miss and the moments I’ll cherish (because I’ve had enough sleep and I will probably actually remember them…)
But yes. I still have my hands full.