there will be so many years

There will be so many years, she tells me, of nights so quiet you don’t know what to do with yourself.

I’m perched on my knees, rolling my green yoga mat into a tight spiral, facing the brick wall of the studio so she can’t see my smile when she wishes the class “a peaceful evening.”

You can’t believe it now, I know, she laughs.

Mine are 23 and 25. And the house is quiet. So quiet. 

I tell her I believe her.

. . .

There will be so many years, she tells me, of whole days where you can do whatever you want.

I’m washing dishes in the sink, staring out the water-splattered kitchen window while she finishes her cup of coffee before the boys drag her into another board game because “Grandma, you promised!”

Can you imagine it now, she smiles. Whole days to do whatever you want?

I can’t imagine. I tell her I believe her.


There will be so many years.

Of calm Sundays at church. Lazy Saturday mornings spent reading the whole newspaper. Spur-of-the-moment Friday nights when we decide to see that show or try that restaurant or watch that movie.

When we do nothing more to prepare but pull on coats and flick off lights as we leave. No planning, no pumping, no prepping the babysitter on everyone’s bedtime routine. We will forget all these details.

We will watch films first-run, take weekend getaways, catch art exhibitions before they close, go to that jazz club whenever the mood strikes us.

We will do laundry once a week instead of twice a day. We will grocery shop with one basket instead of two carts. We will listen to whatever we want in the car. Or we will simply drive and listen to nothing at all.

There will be so many years.

When little boy laughter does not bubble up from downstairs. When bright baby smiles do not greet us from the crib to wake the morning. When they don’t sing silly songs or dance in the kitchen or build basement rocket ships or cuddle onto the couch to read stacks of books.

For most of the years I will know my children, we will all be adults (God willing).

We will still laugh and joke and enjoy each other’s company. But we will also be serious. We will talk about politics and money. We will disagree. They will have their own addresses. We will make plans to meet for lunch. They will insist on picking up the check.

And all I have to do?

Let these years be these years. Let those years be those years.

Refuse to escape the privilege of another present moment with them by reaching ahead for what is not yet. Or longing behind for what was.

All I have to do is be present. To the gift of right now.

. . .

There will be so many years, I will tell her, when you don’t get to carry a baby all day. Believe me, I don’t mind.

She will stand near my elbow, holding another blanket and burp cloth ready, trying not to hover but still hovering because that’s all you can do when your baby is still shockingly brand new.

Can you believe it now, I will ask her as I breathe in that fuzzy warmth again, that there will be days when you don’t hold anyone?

Her eyes will be glassy from one of those painful nights of naps. All she will see are the heaps of laundry shoved in corners before I came over, the mess of bottles waiting to be sanitized once I leave, the dishes in the sink she should have scrubbed, the hair she didn’t wash, the clothes she didn’t change.

She won’t be able to imagine. But she might try to believe.

There will be so many years.

6 thoughts on “there will be so many years

  1. You nailed it, Laura. My biggest issue is “longing behind for what was”. My house is way too quiet right now, as my “baby” just returned to first grade after being home for almost two weeks during Christmas vacation. I a few hours it will be noisy again, but I know that it’s only a matter of time before it will be quiet 24/7. Yet I still have to remind myself to savor the joys of his current age (and there are many) rather than pining away for the days when he truly was a baby.

  2. Thanks for this lovely post, Laura. I know you’re right. I’m lying on the sofa in a finally-quiet house with a barely-asleep baby perched on my chest, and I’m considering getting up to get pizza out of the refrigerator…but I don’t want to risk waking him or any of his siblings! In a few years, I’ll just go get what I want…but I won’t have this yummy baby head to sniff. I guess every moment has its gifts, huh? 🙂

  3. This is so beautiful and moving, Laura. People say “Enjoy it while it lasts! It goes by so fast!” which comes with a lot of pressure. But it is really the mindfulness to know that all of our phases and stages are temporary. That each are precious in their own ways. I love this perspective and I love your words “Let these years be these years. Let those years be those years.”
    Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much! (I’m sorry that your comment went to my spam folder for some reason!) It really is so challenging to stay present in the crazy times, but these are good years, aren’t they? I think we help each other remember this truth in the midst of chaos.

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