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This weekend was Mother’s Day and all around people were making social media posts about their Moms, the park was filled with BBQs and flowers for the lucky moms. And for a few minutes I spoke with all of my children. As I had some time to reflect, I wondered where the time had gone from my children being toddlers to wondering if they would remember to call.
The weather was hot here in Seattle. One of the first 80 degree days of the year. We packed up the dogs, the paddleboard, and a picnic and headed for Rattlesnake lake to relax in the sun. My oldest and youngest headed out to the water to sail around on their boat and paddleboard and I watched as they laughed and talked.
Behind me and really surrounding me, groups of kids gathered to play football, squirt each other with water cannons, and merged their lives with young strangers.
I remember when my boys were little, they were local legends on our street. My oldest was the leader of a motley group of kids of all ages. He was Peter Pan and they were all his lost boys, adventures were always at hand. From lawn camping to scavenger hunts, the kids were gone from morning til dark during the summers. They would check in only for bandaids, popsicles, and the occasional complaint of unfairness.
My shy fair skinned boy became the man in charge and his followers were eager to do whatever he asked. Sometimes they helped neighbors take in groceries and left with cookies. Other times they gathered to listen to the blind man down the street sit on his front porch and tell the children stories of his life, fascinated by his adventures. I remember once looking out just in time to see my younger son getting “married” to his 5 year old best friend Alex and ride her around on his bike with the training wheels still clinging on.
Life was different then I guess, 20 years ago. We lived in the little houses in the “bad part” of town by the dump and the railroad tracks. The kids ran together, in and out of each other’s houses. The Mexican Grandma’s would call all of the children together in the front yard to eat at long wooden picnic benches and my boys would eat their weight of beans and rice. Mikey, the younger one, often saying that when he grew up he wanted to be Hispanic and go to work with the men in the fields like his friends’ Dads.
There was always a feeling of community and pride. At night the guys would come home with baskets of food from the fields, enough to feed their families and more. We would sit out at night and listen to music while the kids ran down the sidewalks with flashlights playing hide and seek. We all watched over the kids, and really… they watched over each other as well.
Now I look out my window and occasionally catch a group of kids running down our sidewalks, making up stories and playing games of make-believe. They are their own local legends.
My children are all grown up, some married, and some holding out. I catch myself daydreaming of what their children would be like, girls with pirate smiles and boys with endless curiosity. I wish I could go back and spend more time with them as little snuggle babies, listen to more sneaky conversations under covers with flashlights, but I am thankful still to have these memories that settle in on quiet days out by the lake.
Even though my kids have grown up and now I’m the one taking pictures of my dogs in funny places. I still love hanging out with my friends and their little ones. I feel old sometimes, the one who had her children young… a different lifetime ago. Most of my friends now have little children and babies.
I love their baby feet and adorable tiny outfits. I’m reminded of how fast this time goes by and before you know it, sleepless nights from tiny babies turn into sleepless nights from teenage drivers. Life moves so fast, from one Mother’s day to the next things change so drastically.
The last of my babies is going to graduate in a few weeks from high school and soon she’ll be off on her own. I can’t believe that after that, there won’t be little feet running through the house.. well, except for the dogs. Where has the time gone?
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