It occurs to me, that upon reflection, once again, my Nanna was right.
She would greet me, as I struggled up the driveway of her house, laden with nappy bags, and toy bags; arms full of children, and water bottles; an aching head full of too many things to do, and eyes burning from a lack of sleep.
She’d take the bags from my arms, and kiss the children, and tell me she’d cooked us up some stewed apples, and that the kettle was hot, and that I was JUST in time for a cuppa.
And as I sipped that soul-saving tea, while my kids rummaged through the toy cupboard, and she brought out plates of biscuits, she would say to me,
“It’s true what they say, you know. The days are long, but the years are short. It won’t be this busy forever”.
I didn’t understand what she meant back then. My days -like most parents’- were indeed very long (some felt absolutely neverending), thankless, and completely consumed by the needs of little humans. I couldn’t fathom how anyone could ever reflect on such a time as having passed quickly.
But, those gummy grins soon became toothy, those wobbly baby legs suddenly had kneecaps, and somehow, without me really realising it, I had become a mother to two pretty complex (and very cool) individuals, with adult teeth, and freckles on their noses, and pre-teen dramas and heartaches. Not a baby curl or bootie to be seen.
Hang on a minute, but wasn’t it just last week I was trundling down that driveway?
That was a decade ago?
I was thinking about this a bit today, as I’ve been working in the Antenatal Clinic this week, and I’ve been spending a lot of time with Mamas and their bellies, so full of beautiful new life.
I see them come into the clinic; some pushing prams, or wrestling feisty toddlers, and some full of the wonderment of the unknown that only a first pregnancy can bring. They’re in the thick of things, or about to be, and it all feels so familiar, yet so distant, to me.
During appointments, mothers often ask me if I have any children, and how old they are. And in truth, it blows my mind to say that I have an eleven year old, and an eight year old. Because, honestly, I’m not exaggerating when I say that it feels just like yesterday that I was laying on a bed in a clinic, listening to the galloping heartbeat of my unborn baby, and wondering what was to come.
But it wasn’t yesterday, or last week, or even last year that I sat in that space, and lived that experience. Sitting opposite those wonderful expectant Mamas waiting to begin their journeys, I realise how far down the path I have travelled on mine, and how persistently time marches on, despite the apparent timelessness of motherhood.
Nowadays, rather than trekking into my Nanna’s house with babies and half of my household belongings, I am instead accompanied into the nursing home where she lives by two lovely, responsible children, that I could never have pictured or imagined back then. These days, it is my turn to make the cups of tea and bring out the biscuits, as she listens to them chatter about their school, their sports, and their friends.
She’s 96, and they’re approaching high school, and I think she was absolutely spot on all along.
The years are short, indeed.