While I poured over pictures, I had the TV on in the background and a baby commercial came on. I was only half listening, but I turned around to see a sweet little baby being snuggled and kissed by his mom. And my heart melted.
For a few moments I longed to have those baby days back again. I wished for the way McKay's hair smelled after a bath. And the way Savannah's little hands would move when she was sound asleep. And the way Megan would press her little cheeks up against mine when she was sad. And the way Emma would crawl into bed with me first thing in the morning and suck her thumb and hold her blankie while she watched Dora.
I thought for a second about all the things I didn't do. I wasn't a relaxed mom. I didn't sit for hours with them and just be still. I didn't read a million books over and over again. I didn't linger in their rooms at night to talk. I worried more about messy rooms and fingerprints than I should have. I could have listened more. And praised more. And hugged more.
Later this morning, I texted my wise and wonderful niece, Laura (who is only a year younger than me and therefore so much more like a sister than a niece) and asked her if she ever wishes to go back to the baby years and have a second chance to do it all over again, only better.
She shocked me when she said no.
She said, "One thing I'm learning is that I will always second guess the decisions I make. But I'm doing what I believe to be best for them. And some things will turn out great and others not so much. But our best is all we can do."
She also said, "If you don't think you were huggy enough then, be huggier NOW. They're not gone yet and you're not done yet. Use the learning of looking back to improve, not to regret."
See what I mean...wise and wonderful, huh?
She's totally right. I did what I was capable of then, and at the time it was my best. And whether because of that or despite it, my children have safely and mostly happily transformed into wise and wonderful little people who I am immensely proud of. I realized in the minutes following that baby commercial and all that longing, that I would only want to be back in those baby days for a few hours before I longed to be back here.
Because here is good.
There is plenty of hugging happening these days. Lots of listening. And road trips. And sisterly friendships being made. And we can do all of that because I no longer have to worry about anyone ingesting Windex, falling down the stairs, or spilling grape juice on my mother-in-law's carpet.
Yep, here is really good.