It isn’t the prettiest meal. I prepared the Sunday lunch quickly, while stopping to pull the baby away from the pots-and-pans cupboard. Then I broke up a fight between the two kids over a magnet. I forgot to cook rice and the avocadoes were already bad.
The baby girl is crying so I place some black beans on her high chair, blow on them since they are still hot, then mush them so she won’t choke.
I throw food on my own plate, quickly, then cut a quesadilla for my daughter, who is now chucking the smooshed beans on the floor. I eat my own taco salad with a speed that I’ve perfected since having kids.
“Slow down,” my husband says as he shushes the baby.
“No time,” I think. Evan wants some water—no, some cold water, with ice in it. Renea wants her drink, too—no, I guess not. She throws it to the ground.
“Want some more?” Brad hands me the bowl of chips.
“No time for seconds.” I pull the baby from her high chair, brush off the food and look for a food-free spot on the floor for her to play.
I sweep quickly, knowing Renea may not have liked her beans or quesadilla on her tray, but, for some reason, especially likes food that is on the floor.
Life is certainly hectic as a mom. Meals are a blur—I don’t know the last time I had time for seconds. But then there are those moments when I ache for time to stop. Like yesterday afternoon. Evan was playing at a park, sitting on a swing with some Indonesian kids. Renea played with her favorite toy in the stroller and Brad and I walked and talked, round and round the sidewalk circling the park.
Renea, who just turned 1, has the cutest way of saying ,”Yeah, yeah, yeah.” And I love asking her questions.
“Am I the best mom in the whole world?”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.”
“Does my frizzy hair look awesome?”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,”
She answered my latest round of questions, blue eyes turned up at me, big smiles, as we walked and I pushed. That moment—that’s the one I want to stay forever.
Actually—most of her first year of life, I wish I could collect and re-do. Except for the middle-of-the night feedings, of course. But this year went too fast and I didn’t get enough newborn snuggles in, and she’s now big and walking and time walks on, taking my baby girl with it.
No time for seconds.
I know that someday soon I will be mushing beans on her tray and I will look up and she will be 2. And I will miss her “yeah, yeah, yeah” as she learns more and more words. She will have more patience and more skills—like eating with a spoon. And I may have time for another scoop of taco salad. But still, there will be no time for seconds.
When I close the door to the room filled with sleeping kids and finally have two minutes to myself each night, I know enough not to wish away these consuming days. Nap time may be hours away at 10 in the morning when I want to write an email without a child pulling on my leg. But the years—they walk on and push me past the moments that break my heart because they are so special.
“You will live with me forever and never grow up and leave me, right, baby girl?”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.”