Christmas is three weeks from Friday.
I’d like to order an extra week, please. And also, an elf who likes to decorate and bake cookies and wrap gifts.
How is it possible that Christmas takes so long to arrive when you are seven years old, yet it circles around in a flash when you are forty-four? Time is a sneaky thing, never staying steady, forever hypnotizing and making me dizzy.
I still have a lingering pumpkin on my front porch.
At the moment, I know a bunch of pregnant women, some who also have little ones. When I see them, I remember.
I remember those long days with toys scattered on the living room floor, when the days were segmented by naptime and playtime and lunchtime and cleaning up one mess after the next. I remember watching children’s television with a toddler on my lap, trying in vain to read a magazine at the same time. I remember holding my pregnant belly with both hands so I could better feel the rolling and squirming baby inside. I remember longing for something else, for a day or a week or a month to pass without wiping a nose or changing a diaper or mollifying a crazed toddler.
And now I don’t wipe noses or change diapers or mollify toddlers. My life is arranged around carpool and school and a work schedule and fixing dinner. I can leave all the children at home alone and it’s not illegal. I can read a whole magazine cover-to-cover without a little one trying to eat the pages. I don’t have to cut anyone’s food into tiny bits.
Life is different now.
And I want to plead with those women I see with their pregnant bellies and their backseats full of carseats . . . I want to beg them to enjoy these days, to embrace every moment and to take more pictures. Memorize the strange sensation of a human being somersaulting in your interior. Sit down with the little guys and ignore the dust because the dust won’t go anywhere and before you know it the little guy will have his own Facebook account and will have to shave. No one will want to watch “Sesame Street” anymore and you’ll miss Grover and knowing that naptime would follow lunchtime as surely as summer follows spring.
Life will no longer be contained between the four walls of your house–or the walls of your uterus. Everything gets impossible to contain and time speeds up and before you know it, you’re nostalgic about the Terrible Twos. (In other words, you lose your memory.)
I supposed my 102-year old Grandma would have told me something similar . . . to embrace these years while the children are still home, drinking a whole quart of apple juice in one night and leaving their dishes in the family room and teasing each other until someone cries . . . because one day, they’ll be gone and I’ll be sentimental about the times that drive me a little nuts right now.
I know it’s true.