The Days are Long, and The Years are Short

I’ve somehow recently been catapulted into ‘The Years are Short’ part of this phrase. For 10 years I feel like I’ve been living in the ‘The Days are Long’ part. And, I’m reminded again, how my children are possibly the greatest teachers I’ve ever had.

When my son turned 10 last week, I was stopped in my tracks a few different times with tears of absolute joy, surprising sadness, and deep heart-felt sentimentality.

1-0. 10 years. A whole decade of living. A group of years that often felt long, lonely and hard. Definitely with less sleep than the previous 10. A period of time where I often struggled to find myself within the mix of all that needed to be done. A period of time where I had sunset anxiety because I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to go to sleep or be woken up in the middle of the night...again. Often times I had boogers and food smeared across my clothing all day without even knowing it. So much time making dinners that they didn’t eat anyway. So many times where they wanted me to play with them, put costumes on them, listen to them explain something they think they understood precisely when I needed to do something else. Time where there was supreme negotiation to get them to comply, to get them to let go of their idea and try mine, to get them to be nice to each other. Time when I’m not sure how many of my own sentences I ever finished, or that they even heard. Time when I absolutely couldn’t wait to have date night with my husband.

So, why am I suddenly sad? I find myself suddenly calculating how much more time I have left to sweep up sand in the house, wipe up muddy footprints, explore new places and experiences. Time where they still need me to listen. To put costumes on. To help them understand. I’m looking at 10 suddenly wondering how much longer he will want me to put him to sleep. Hug me in public. How much longer do we have before we can go to dinners every night of the week if we want to?

I don’t know how many times I’ve been told, The Days are Long and the Years are short. There is great wisdom in this phrase, that maybe we can’t know until we know. Children grow up. They go to college, get married and pursue dreams. They won’t need me anymore. And, of course I’ll be so happy for them. But I’ll weep inside because they won’t need me.

To be able to move my awareness from the everyday, myopic, seemingly unending drama that’s right in front of me to a bigger macro vision, and then back again is what I now see when I hear the same phrase. I’m grateful to my practice of Yoga to support me in doing this. To take space. To sit. To pause. To take a breath. To feel the truth of the current pain, the current anxiety, the current sleeplessness or challenge. But to also fully understand that I wouldn’t want it any other way. To see with the same eyes that they are children and have every right to these moments to choose, to negotiate, to try to understand, to explore, experiment. And, that I am so grateful that I get to help them, support them, be there with them. To see that one day I will be very sad when they don’t need me anymore.

I’m sure there will be plenty more times where I can only feel the Days are Long part. But, to make it a moment-to-moment practice of being fully in the moment. To go deep in their eyes. All the way into their understanding. Fully hug and hold them. And, then to draw back enough to see that this won’t last forever. To try to appreciate any moment they want me to help them. To put a costume on, to only want to take it immediately off. To help them figure it all out.

Now please excuse me while I go back to breaking up that sibling rivalry, planning another dinner they won’t eat, making them do their homework and 9 more loads of laundry.