It can all seem so humdrum, even a burden. Staying up with an overtired toddler. Staying up until curfew to check on a teenager. Arguing over meals, over an allowance, over grades. Driving to school, driving to shop for a pair of shoes. Opening the fridge and wondering how it could be empty again when you just got groceries two days ago.
We’ve said before that parenting is a grind. It’s exhausting. It also goes by very, very fast. Like the lyrics from the new song Weird Goodbyes from The National go, you’re going to need (and wish you were) present for all this, the good and the bad.
Memorize the bathwater, memorize the air
There’ll come a time I’ll wanna know I was here
Names on the doorframes, inches and ages
Handprints in concrete at the softest stages
There will come a time that you’ll look back on even the most difficult moments of this journey and be nostalgic for it. At the end of your life–hopefully a long time from now–you’d trade anything for another chance to wait for the bath to warm up. Another chance to chase them down to put them in the bath, even if they’re screaming.
“It’s crazy the things we let go of,” the song says. It’s crazy the things we take for granted, the things that later we’ll want to know we were here for…but that presupposes we were there for them. That you are present right now. That you did soak it in. That you did memorize all of it and appreciate it and do your best in it.
Because that’s all there is.