"Those were the best days." She said with a smile, as she watched me push my 15 month old daughter around in a shopping cart at Old Navy. She was a beautiful elderly lady, that couldn't have been much younger than 80. Hannah kindly responded to her sweet voice and smile by reaching up to her with open arms and a toothy grin (I promise that girl has a sense for people - she knows the kind hearts).
I wanted to stay and talk. Find out how many children, grandchildren and maybe even great-grandchildren that she had. But I was too busy frantically searching for my 2 year old who was running around the store. So I told her in my most polite, don't-want-to-be-rude-but-really-gotta-run voice, "to have fun shopping!" She gave me a knowing smile as I pushed my cart away. And as I thought about it, what I really wanted to ask that sweet lady - was what made her believe these days, these long, busy, dirty toddler days, "were the best?"
Because, let's be honest, these days I get tired. I get cranky. I look in the mirror and feel like I've aged five years in just the last two. If we're judging things on how often I shower and actually get dressed, mop my floors and leave dishes in the sink - these are definitely not my best days.
But I have a feeling that's not what the sweet old (navy) lady was remembering when she looked down at my precious daughter.
I have a feeling she was remembering her own daughter's first words. Seeing her walk for the first time. Or reach up and say, "mama." She was remembering those moments when her baby cried and only needed her. Only wanted her.
There will be days, pretty soon actually, when I won't be changing diapers anymore. But that doesn't mean there won't be other dirty things I'll have to deal with. Like insecurities and self-esteem and teaching my children to have a Christian-worldview in a world that needs Christ so desperately.
Yes, there are challenging days ahead.
God knew I needed a simple reminder to enjoy these moments while they are still young. While they still, not only need me but, want me.
I believe this was also a reminder that I need those relationships with wiser, older woman who have been in my shoes and have walked where I've walked. While the worlds we live in may look differently, every baby is born the same - naked and needy. And there is wisdom in looking back that I may not see right now.
So while the days may seem longer and I may in fact appear more tired than usual - it's because they are and I am. But I have a strong feeling that when I look back on the days I had a one and two year old running around the house, beating on toy drums and crunching Cheerios between their tiny toes, I'll remember those wise words and agree, "Those were the best days."