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The good old days

When my grandmother used to call and ask “What’s douching?” Her quirky way of asking what’s doing, I’d generally answer, “Nothing really, same old nonsense.” To which she’d reply, “Good. That’s how you want it.”

Often I argued. “Well, sure, if you enjoy changing poop diapers or chasing down a maniacal two year-old with a blue marker and the glint of crazy in his eye.”

“Best years of your life.” She’d scoff, “Goes by like a dream.”

“Or a nightmare.” I’d quip, to be funny and also because some days it was true.

“You’ll see.” She’d counsel knowingly, “You’re gonna miss it when it’s gone.”

Not that I’d admit it at the time, but in my heart I knew grandma was right. Each night looking down at my sweet sleeping babes, I mourned the loss of each passing day; each precious giggle and milestone now stored away in the picture and video folders on my computer.

But, of course, those wistful, reflective moments always seemed to happen when my beautiful little rats were sleeping.  Before that I was counting the minutes till bedtime; puffing out deep breaths while cleaning up a bowl of cheerios my toddler had flipped to the floor, or realizing the reason why my baby had just peed through his romper and all over me was because I had put the diaper on backwards.

I couldn’t help day dreaming at times about doing my private business in private without some small creature pushing the door open, crawling in and yelling, “Mama, I sit on your lap!”  Or simply about being back with adult people and feeling smart. And not mom smart like convincing my kid that he was safe by spraying a water bottle of “monster remover’ all over his room, or sensing before seeing that my child was about to fall off a chair he somehow climbed in the 3 seconds I turned away.

Not that I’d ever knock mom smarts. Where would we be without the forethought to pack an extra diaper or stash a lollypop in the bag for just the right moment? Up shits creek, that’s where, but still, I longed for a little adult appreciation.

Although I occasionally fantasized as I sleepwalked through my days after walking from bedroom to bedroom each night; from nursing a baby, straight to comforting a child with a scary dream back to the woken baby; in so far over my head that I couldn’t even see the surface, I knew I was living my dream. That this was it. These were the times of my life, working and playing up through the ranks of ‘mommy hood’; where the work could be grueling but the gifts were overflowing.

When else would I be needed so? When else would babies nuzzle in my neck? When else would I rock in the blissful solitude of 3am with my child sleep-nursing at my breast? When else could I skip out of the house with spit-up on my shirt, dried sweet potato in my hair singing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”, and happily enjoy an ice cream cone with my kids without dwelling on my non-existent exercise routine.

Those were the times to remember just as much as they were the times to survive. Where the most exciting thing in my day was staying awake to fall asleep watching a movie with my husband; a long hot uninterrupted show was the epitome of pleasure, and a night out with the girls left us all flush with wine and laughter and still home by ten.

Grandma knew those days would be the good old days. But honestly, these days are pretty good as well. There’s holding my breath as my boy strikes that last guy out; proudly signing a 100 on a test after torturous studying, negotiating whether to play Payday or Monopoly.  There’s catches on the lawn, water balloon fights and a growing communication and understanding between us. We’re a little older, a little wiser but we’re still living the crazy. It’s just different.

And sometimes when I see a sweet little one giggling and smeared in chocolate, or a baby making out with his mother’s cheek, I feel my heart squeeze and just for that moment I long for the good old days when my boys were little, nothing was ever new and grandma was still around to see it.

grandma & jack

She made the good old days better.

About Ice Scream Mama

Mama to 3 boys, wife to Mr. Baseball and daughter of a sad man. I have a double scoop every day.

20 responses »

  1. Loved the line “These are the best times of your life” but why do we not know it till it’s passed!? Beautiful writing….saying it exactly right. From a grandma’s view…I wish I could tell my kids to stop and savor more.

  2. This is so gorgeous! I I’m doing my best to enjoy every moment now because the last 15 years have gone by so quickly it’s scary!! Mine are now 15, 12 and 9 and it went by so fast that I know I will blink and it will be over. Ouch!!

  3. I don’t have kids yet, but I need to remember that the good old days are going on right now…

  4. Yes, Grandma is always right! That’s my experience, anyway

  5. jill lundberg

    Something about a grandma’s wisdom that is so crucial and so missed when they’re gone. Beautiful essay as always…its hard to stop and see the beauty in the moment but you do:)

  6. Lovely.

    My office moved, and now on my new way to work I pass my now 23 year old son’s pre-school. I watch the cars line up, see the teachers taking reluctant 3-5 year olds out of their cars. I see the playground equipment where one of my favorite photos of Jacob was taken when he was 4. I miss that little boy, and those days of being mommy smart. I also love the 23 year old bruiser who picked me up for lunch today. Wouldn’t it be nice if just one day a year, they could go back to a different age (except the teens — no thank you!).

    Thanks for the smile. This really took me back.

  7. I love this. Any post of yours that has to do with you grandma immediately jumps to the top of my favorite posts list.

  8. Now that my kids are older, I long for that, too. But it’s hard to realize it when you’re in the thick of it. That once that craziness is gone, it’s gone forever and you miss it so. Your grandma was a very wise woman indeed.

    And my mom used to say up shits creek. Haven’t heard that in ages! 🙂

  9. Pingback: Today I Became the Parent to an Adult | Robin Matteri

  10. I found this at just the perfect time. It brought me to tears, it is so right on. My baby boy is turning one in two days and I can’t even believe how quickly time has passed. Some nights I do count the minutes until bedtime. Then, as I walk him to the crib, with his lovely, sweet face resting in the crook of my neck, I wonder why I wanted it to go by so fast.


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