Published for Motherhood Matters on (click HERE for the link)
The blinking game: I’ve played it on car trips, during church and at the dinner table.

To win, you simply had to be the last to blink. With eyes watering and stinging, the game seemed to last forever. In reality, though, it never lasted long.

No matter how hard you try or how much willpower you have, the next blink is simply inevitable.

As a kid, it felt like I was forever waiting. I waited for kindergarten to start, to have sleepovers, to go on vacations, for birthdays, for a job, for my first kiss and more independence. But as I walked across the stage at high school graduation, I clearly recalled my first day of kindergarten and realized that all my waiting amounted to a couple of blinks.

Kindergarten seemed like only yesterday. Surprisingly, I wanted to be in kindergarten again, if only for one day. I decided I would even take the day I sat in the corner of the playground and cried.

Then came college, during which I waited some more, to find my way around campus, get enough sleep, finish the next research paper, graduate and eventually get a real job.

That feels like just yesterday. I’d love to spend a day as a college student again, even if it has to be during finals week.

Marriage and five kids came with the next few blinks. I spent several years living in the fog of diapers, tantrums, sleepless nights and endless laundry. As difficult and unending as it seemed at times, my life was always balanced out and made magical with sweet baby smell, hugs and kisses, complete adoration of toddlers, and pure joy.

Only yesterday I was rocking my babies to sleep. I find myself longing for that stage of life again, even if it’s the day every single one of my kids had a fever.

I’d take that day in a heartbeat.

Reluctantly and as slowly as possible, I blinked again. But it was still too fast. My oldest will be turning 16 and my youngest starting kindergarten in a few weeks.

I am currently living in the fog of carpools, sports, piano lessons, homework, broken hearts, cellphones, wanting to string kids up by their toes, frozen pizzas and endless laundry.

As difficult and unending as it seems at times, my life is always balanced out and made magical with trips to the ice cream store, vacations, debates and discussions with teenagers, unexpected hugs, and pure joy.

At some point in the future, it will admittedly be nice to have more time for hobbies and my career, and even my laundry. I’ve heard it rumored that some people actually get all of their laundry done in a single day.

But the irony is, when I’m standing in my perfectly clean and organized laundry room with nothing left to wash, it will seem like only yesterday when the laundry was endless. And I have a feeling that I will really truly wish for more laundry, even if it’s the laundry from the day the whole family ran outside in the rain, dragging in no less than a ton of mud on their clothing.

Please. No more blinking.

I’m not ready.

But it’ll happen. Because no matter how hard I try or how much willpower I have, the next blink is simply inevitable.

And when I’m standing on the curb waving goodbye, eyes watering and stinging, all the blinking in the world won’t be able to hold back the tears.