A pile of shoes by the front door can be annoying, but it is also evidence of loved ones living together under one roof. (Jennifer Bardsley)

A pile of shoes by the front door can be annoying, but it is also evidence of loved ones living together under one roof. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Remembering to cherish the things a mom takes for granted

Here’s to the noise, the mess and the laughter that fills life between now and when the kids are grown.

Right now my Facebook feed is full of happy posts from friends sharing the news of what college their graduating senior will attend in the fall. My kids are in sixth and 10th grades, so thank goodness the stress of their college admissions/acceptance cycle is still a ways off.

But the clock is ticking, not just for big decisions like college, but for life as we know it, with all four of us living together under one roof.

Things I take for granted:

■ Hugging my son and daughter each night before I go to bed and telling them I love them.

■ Waking them up in the morning, again, and again and again.

■ Knowing where my children are and what they are doing.

■ Seeing them grow, right in front of my eyes.

We have two large baskets by our front door. The basket on the left is for my daughter and I to stow our shoes. The one on the right is for my husband and son. Even though the baskets can hold all of the shoes we own, at any given time there are half a dozen pairs of shoes sitting on the floor in front of the baskets, plus a couple of badminton rackets. Sometimes it feels like I’m the only person in the family who puts their shoes away!

Things I take for granted:

■ The messy pile of shoes at my front door.

■ Help carrying groceries in from the car.

■ The sound of stomping Dr. Martens boots on the carpet.

■ Needing to replace sneakers that no longer fit.

■ Spontaneous badminton games in the back yard.

I cook a homemade dinner every night, and we sit at the kitchen table to eat it. I am always the first one done, and eager to get the dishes cleaned up and put away. But it takes the rest of my family another 30 minutes to finish eating. They linger, talking and laughing between bites. Some of the conversations are annoying because they involve YouTube jokes that I don’t understand.

Things I take for granted:

■ Having people on hand at all times who can explain the latest YouTuber drama to me.

■ Being complimented on my cooking, even if it was marginal.

■ My kids wanting to spend time together as a family.

■ Eating dinner together every night.

Sept. 1, 2023, when my son might leave for college, is only 873 days away. The shoe basket will be tidy, dinner will be fast and the house will be eerily quiet. Here’s to the noise, the mess and the laughter that fills my life between now and then. Let me replace “take for granted” with “cherish.” The days are long, the years are fast, and every minute is meaningful.

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as Jennifer Bardsley Author. Email her at teachingmybabytoread@gmail.com.

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