Finding Its Way to Memory

January 28, 2013

By Amy Hackworth. Image by Justin Hackworth.

When our boys were tiny and so much work, I internally rolled my eyes when well-meaning friends (and plenty of strangers) told me that these hectic baby days would go by fast. Fast? It was the most ridiculous thing my sleep-deprived self could imagine.

Just this weekend I, forgetting the uselessness of such an assurance, and unable to resist the urge to give the advice now that I understand it, assured—or maybe warned—a mother with two tiny ones how quickly it really does go by. I can’t believe I said it. But now I know it’s true.

Years ago, I could never have imagined this, but many a morning the boys are up before I am, and they play, safe and happy, while I take leave of dreamland at my own pace rather than at the abrupt demand of their call or cry. When we leave the house, they put on their own shoes, get their very own coats, and buckle themselves in the car. They get dressed on their own. (Although I’m not going to lie, I have to remind them to put on clean underwear more often than I’d like. But still. They can do it.)

Obviously, this independence is welcome, but not without some backward longing for days when they could both share my lap with ease, when I could playfully munch on their chubby cheeks, when they finally gave in to sleep and their tiny heads drooped helplessly against my shoulder. These sorts of pangs made me love Bethany Meyer’s beautiful post about the moment her 11-year-old-son invites her to stop singing their song to him at bedtime. I admire the composure and grace with which she acquiesces. And I ache with her as she sings to him anyway in his sleep.

“Enjoy these moments,” well-meaning moms warned, and I rolled my eyes. But now that I see, as Gretchen Rubin wisely summarizes, the days are long and the years are short, I am a little more careful to appreciate this stage of motherhood, because it, too, will find its way to a memory.

P.S. — I loved reading about your favorite lullabies. For another achingly beautiful ode to growing children, enjoy Mary Karr’s brilliant poem, “A Blessing from My Sixteen Years’ Son.”

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January 28, 2013 at 2:00 pm
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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Becca January 28, 2013 at 10:18 am

well said. now for me to put it into daily gratitude of the present. so easy with a strong willed toddler to wish for easier more compliant days ahead instead of
marveling at his fearlessness! loved the links to other thoughts this also.


2 Amy Hackworth January 28, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Thanks, Becca. I know, I know, it’s hard to find in a strong willed toddler’s finest moment, but I love your idea of admiring his fearlessness! Smart!


3 marta January 28, 2013 at 10:34 am

oh amy, you write my favorite truths. thank you for reminding me. as a mother of two boys now, i see the magic!! and i’m sinking my teeth into every moment!
p.s. all my best to you, gabby!!


4 Amy Hackworth January 28, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Likewise, Marta! You also write my favorite truths! And you’re a huge inspiration to me as a mother. You’re amazing!


5 Alex January 28, 2013 at 11:00 am

Thanks for this reminder, Amy. Sometimes we forget these things in the day to day life of tantrums and spaghetti all over the kitchen floor. And thanks for sharing the Bethany Meyer article- brought tears to my eyes (my daughter’s current favorite song is You Are my Sunshine).


6 Amy Hackworth January 28, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Ohhh, sweet. I hope she’ll always let you sing it to her! :)


7 Anna January 28, 2013 at 11:02 am

I felt the same way and now I am astonished on a daily basis how fast it’s gone. I miss those days. I also love where we are (8 and almost 11) and what we can do as a family but I do get very nostalgic for those sweet, sweet (and exhausting) years. And it only seems to be going faster and faster. Right?


8 Amy Hackworth January 28, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Yes, there is much to appreciate about 8 and 11!


9 Jo January 28, 2013 at 11:35 am

Oh goodness this is exactly what I needed to hear. Twin boys 14 months. Exhausted. Sadly frustrated at times at their high level of dependence. Found myself carrying both of them with aching arms and yearning for the day they can walk. I’ll remember now – someday my arms will ache to hold them both like I do now.
Thank you.


10 Amy Hackworth January 28, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Oh, Jo, I wish I could hug you–and hold your babies for a bit while you go take a nap. Thanks for your comment. Take care of you, too, while you take care of them!


11 Sherri January 28, 2013 at 11:39 am

Today is my oldest’s 17th birthday, and I just received a kindergarten acceptance letter for my youngest last week. I have been thinking on this a lot lately and, specifically, of my two boys (who are 1st and 2nd graders – the oldest and youngest are both girls). So timely that you would bring this up now. I mean, I am dreaming about the boys as babies – my computer keeps scrolling toddler pics like it knows….. I do miss their sweet baby, toddler, and preschool years, but… they were tough too. I am relishing every moment with them these days – trying not to let little things get me down – keeping my eventual memories happy :).


12 Amy Hackworth January 28, 2013 at 12:44 pm

What a fun stage of life to have big kids and little kids! I like what you said about keeping eventual memories happy. That could help me keep my cool when I’m tempted to lose it!


13 Melissa T. January 28, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I guess we are getting old. I, too, have recently acknowledged that all those mothers knew what they were talking about. Although Felix (3) still lets me kiss his cheeks, I know my days are limited.


14 Amy Hackworth January 28, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Old?? Nonsense! :) Thank goodness you can still kiss those scrumptious cheeks of his!


15 Sally DeFord January 28, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I love this, Amy. I’m heading back into the infant stage and find myself worrying what it will be like going back to no sleep and having a child totally dependent on me. I know it will have it’s joys, and I’m glad for the reminder to savor those joys. Thanks!


16 Amy Hackworth January 28, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Sally, I’d be nervous, too, but I’m so excited for you! Your boys will be big helpers…?


17 Karisa Winkel January 28, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Amy, you are such a talented writer! That made me tear up– I completely understand what you’re talking about. I don’t know if you’d remember but Meg introduced us. I wish I had been able to get to know you before I moved! Big hugs and best wishes


18 Amy Hackworth January 28, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Hi Karisa, of course I remember you! You gave me that cool shirt! :) Thanks so much for saying hi and such a nice compliment, too. Thanks, thanks! Hope you’re well!


19 Jamie styer January 28, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Took the words right out if my heart! I love what you write.


20 Amy Hackworth January 28, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Jamie, thanks!


21 Rose January 28, 2013 at 2:29 pm

So glad I follow Design Mom and read this. I have four children. A senior who is graduating this year, a thirteen year old who is so focused on everything, an eight year old who just got baptized, and a three year old son who I really don’t want to grow up…but it’s inevitable.

I don’t think I ever rolled my eyes up in the air, but i do remember saying to people, “yeah, yeah, I’m sure they do!”

It wasn’t until my oldest became a teen is when I realized time flies like a leer jet! And time goes by faster with the next, and the next, and the next.

It’s so true Amy. So true.

P.s. Love your writing and your husbands talent in photography! Hope to have him shoot us someday…someday!


22 Amy Hackworth January 28, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Thanks, Rose. What a fun spread of ages in your family! And I’ll be sure to tell Justin. :)


23 kalanicut January 28, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Oh, our little person is almost seven and I swear to you she was two just seconds ago. Now when we see toddlers we think what a joy it would be to have one of those around again. Life is never easy, it’s just different sets of trials and blessings. Each phase has its highs and lows. One thing we have learned through trial and error is to try hard to love every minute of the highs and make peace with the temporary lows. This has really helped us to find the moments of joy in every day. Thanks for the awesome reminder that life goes by quickly and should be gobbled up and enjoyed every day.


24 Amy Hackworth January 28, 2013 at 9:49 pm

My husband is always saying–when we’re tempted to think the grass is greener somewhere else–that you trade one set of problems for another set. I love your perspective of appreciating the highs and making peace with the lows. Very wise.


25 Martha Moger January 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm

I get this… I really get this… My boys are 18 months and nearly 3 and I simultaneously long for the time when they will put their own shoes on and wonder what I will do when it comes. Such a profound and lovely post by Bethany Meyer.


26 Jane January 28, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Oh yes, I say it all the time. As a mom to 4 teens….I miss those baby days! I so enjoyed reading Katrina Kennison’s “The Gift of an Ordinary Day” – it gave me a wonderful perspective.


27 Amy Hackworth January 28, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Jane, Katrina Keninson’s book is on my list. I felt so drawn to it when I saw it, and I just knew I had to have it. Glad to hear you enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading it.


28 julie January 28, 2013 at 3:20 pm
29 Shannon { A Mom's Year } January 28, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Beautiful post. And so true. I have to look UP at my fourteen-year-old now, but there are still moments when I can see the small boy he was. Knowing how quickly the time flies by helps me slow down with my younger ones. Or at least try to!

There’s a quote from J. M. Barrie (Peter Pan) that helps me with those heart-achy moments: “You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by. Yes, but some of them are golden only because we let them slip.”


30 Amy Hackworth January 28, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Ah! Looking UP to my boys! I hadn’t even thought of that! Yikes! Thanks for sharing J. M. Barrie’s beautiful words!


31 Anita January 28, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Having a young boy with ever-increasing independence, and a baby girl growing and changing every day I welcome the comments from strangers – because even though they’re telling me something I already know, it still urges me to give one extra bedtime story or a few more minutes of cuddle time on the couch. And that I’m thankful for.


32 Amy Hackworth January 28, 2013 at 9:52 pm

You’re smart to welcome advice from strangers instead of rolling your eyes! :)


33 Miranda January 28, 2013 at 11:48 pm

I loved talking with you, Amy, and took all of your motherly wisdom to heart!

Even looking back one short year (or a couple months!!) and seeing all of the changes that happen within the dynamics of our small family gives me pause and reason to dig even deeper for an abundance of gratitude for each moment with my two crazy babies.

You are so sweet, and I love being surrounded by such wonderful and intentional mothers. So happy to have met you!



34 Lindsey January 30, 2013 at 6:01 am

Prickly tears reading that one! I am so in love with being mama to my little sixteen-month-old girl. <3 I just can't imagine the day when I won't want a baby.


35 Koseli Cummings January 30, 2013 at 10:38 am

Awww, I’m crying. I’m so so sad to see my sweet little baby boy grow up. It’s so bittersweet. “The days are long and the years are short.” I think that every time I feel impatience sneaking into our playtime. It is an honor raising and loving my little Silas.

I love everything you write. So sad we missed each other at Alt. Next year! I want you to teach me to be brave in my writing.


36 A Day in May Design February 2, 2013 at 8:11 pm

I love the line, “the days are long but the years are short” – truer words were never spoken. Beautiful piece!


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