Raising children on the other hand, is fleeting. Sure, the fact the both my kids are still alive and well is proof that I am tending to at least their basic needs, but there is no daily milestone that makes me feel as if I've done anything at all. If the house looks the same at the end of the day as it did in the morning it's because I've picked up all the toys, done the dishes three times and dried my tears from spilled milk, but no one can tell. Raising kids is grueling because of that repetition. Changing a newborn's diaper turns into potty training turns into overseeing basic hygiene. Like shampoo, you rinse and repeat.
I remember the newborn days, just thinking, "Once Monkey gets to this phase, parenting will get easier." I was right sometimes, but with every new phase came a new challenge. When Munchkin arrived two years later, I tried to appreciate whatever she was doing instead of whatever I wished she was already doing. I often failed, thinking "Well...she's great but having both kids above this age will be better." As Munchkin takes full claim to the title of "terrible twos," I am currently not too appreciative in the least. Yet, between reading books and cleaning up paint, I see the days and weeks passing.
I find it hard to believe that Monkey's fifth birthday is approaching and Munchkin is almost halfway through her year of terror (I hope it's just a year.) Five years ago, I couldn't have imagined what these two little ones would look like, much less what they would have brought to my life. I could not have imagined Monkey's insistence on grandly celebrating his birthday or Munchkin's doggedness in stomping on the snow until it crumbled into tiny specks, once-solid chunks disappearing under her little feet.
My eldest sister once told me that when it comes to raising children, the days are long, but the years are short and she is right. Perhaps, when my children are grown, my mothering days will feel concrete and solid. Like all that snow I'd like to clear away, maybe I will look back and think that one day my children were born and, seemingly the next day, they were gone.