Tonight, I've been sitting in my children's playroom sorting out their wardrobes - you know the routine, growth spurts, leggings too short, t shirts riding up, etc - preparing clothes to go up into the loft, however on this occasion, I was ridiculously emotional packing my children's clothes away. As I picked up Kamil's favourite grey t-shirt, the one that now has a distressed look, where the print has faded and cracked from the constant washing cycles and tumble drying, the one where the sides shape has gone from me pulling it down on Kamil to make him wear it for that little bit longer, the one which has been intentionally left at the bottom of his wardrobe for months, so that I don't have to admit he's growing up.
Kamil wore this t-shirt for almost a year. That's a little under half his life. The thought of folding it away for the very last time was heartbreaking. I couldn't stop the flood of tears rolling down my cheeks as I held the t-shirt up against the light and examined the size. My son at one stage of his life fit into that t-shirt. It's such a special t-shirt, it was the t-shirt he was wearing when he decided to take his first unaided steps at nine months and the t-shirt he wore for the first time he went to soft play. A lot of his toddler months were in this t-shirt. It's not even a fancy t-shirt, a reduced £2 t-shirt I came across in Asda. But, the sentimental value is immense and probably the most proudest £2 I have ever spent.
As I was holding this garment, I remembered this post that I recently came across, which questioned my favourite mantra - 'the days are long, but the years are short' and it really upset me. She was saying how the days are long and we forget how long the days actually are when it's a really crap day. But, for me, that mantra is exactly what gets me through my really long crappy days, especially the ones where I've been up till 2am editing a video and then Kamil decides to wake up at 5.30am and point blank refuses to go to sleep again. That is what puts it into perspective for me, as I know, one day, Kamil will most likely never want to wake up at 5.30am again...willingly! Even today, after we played with plasticine, the dining table was left marked from the clay. I was momentarily annoyed but then instantly remembered the mantra. The mantra that has kept me sane for the first couple of years of motherhood. The mantra that turns my anger into content. The mantra that promotes gentle parenting. That mantra is my saviour. So, whilst it may not be the answer for some, it is definitely the answer for me. I will never look at these early years negatively because I've been blessed to have this boy in my life. Even if he is growing up too fast, he will always be my baby in grey.
So, as I fold away this t-shirt for the very last time, I want to remember that babies don't stay small forever, they won't want us to hold their hands, they won't want us to hug them in public - so I'm going to hold my babies hand that little bit tighter tomorrow and hug them for that little bit longer in public. Because, one day I will pick that grey t-shirt up again and cry for these long days again. To want to wash the plasticine off the table. To get woken up at 5.30am after only 3 hours sleep.
Let's make a promise that everyday we take a short moment to look around and really absorb the 'now' of that moment. Because one day, that specific moment may be the last time you have that moment and you didn't even realise it was the last one. Because, if you did, you would have taken that moment in for a little bit longer.
And you'll remember those moments when you go to your loft in ten years and pick up that t-shirt.