This past weekend we attended three graduation parties on Saturday with two kids under the age of four. The kids went hard all day. Running, playing, eating picnic food and snacks, guzzling water, and they finished the night with a hardcore dance session at 10p. I always say - you know its a good party when someone throws up...and Gemmi proved that to be true around 2am that night. Just too much fun was had all day.
We spent Saturday celebrating young family and friends that have successfully finished a chapter in their life while also corralling our two little ones that have not yet even started their school-based educational career. While I watched the Moms of the graduates refilling roasters and thanking family and friends; I wiped snot noses and gave dirty looks about the fifth chocolate chip cookie stolen from the dessert table. I changed diapers, reminded more than once, "if you can't share, you can't play," and changed my kids' clothes to jammies on a friend's couch with the music bumping outside. It was a long, happy day in the land of grown-ups navigated by a young family.
At our last party of our dear family friends' youngest son Ryan - who graduated from high school, we watched a video of his successes and life so far and I sat there smiling and choking back tears at the pictures of 'the Ryan' I hold in my mind (Ryan at about age 6). Growing up, our families vacationed together and celebrated real and made-up holidays together - they were my extended family; Ryan being one of the 'babies' of all of us kids. So it was both proud and bittersweet to recognize that he had finished that part of his youth - and by way of extension - maybe a bit of an end to our collective youth as the kids of Tap Run parents.
After the video, I made my way to his mum, Becky - my sort of surrogate mom, and hugged her and said something about how she did a great job on the video. And maybe it was the gloss of tears in my eyes or the quick sigh I let out, but whatever prompted her - Becky quickly waved her hand across her face and snapped.
And there we were.
She a mom just finishing the first leg of motherhood.
And me a mom at the beginning of it.
Moms with older children try to tell us - those of us with young children - 'it goes so fast,' 'cherish it while you can.' And this usually comes in our moments of struggle - the kids are screaming and squirming and throwing groceries out of the cart in the check-out line and we end up looking at them with a polite smile rooted in the thought of - yea, easy for you to say, dude. But Becky's wave and a snap spoke more to me than any wistful remark in passing has ever conveyed.
With this gesture, I saw a flash of a teenage Greyson and Gemma; felt a lap empty of a toddler; already missed the sound of 'hold you, Mumma.' The only response I could muster was a tearful nod of understanding. That's how fast it feels from the other side of motherhood; a wave and a snap. And I hugged my surrogate Mom grateful for her poignantly delivered wisdom.
Then we both laughed and scolded each other for being the one to blame for the display of momma emotions and quickly made our way back to the party. She to remind Ryan and his friends to turn down the music and me to pull my kids' hands out of the ice cooler. We continued off into the directions that our own stages in motherhood currently dictates.
But in that quick, effortless gesture we were able to look across the ravine and recognize ourselves in each other. One day I will feel like you, and there was a day (that doesn't feel very long ago) that you felt like me.
Thank you Becky, for everything - but especially for the wave and a snap.