The tiny light bulb in Paisley’s night-light burned out recently, and I was relieved to find that we did indeed have that odd size of bulb tucked away at the top of a kitchen cabinet. No mommy wants to tuck her little girl in without a night-light if she can help it!
I tore open the package and read an interesting factoid about these little miracles of light – the particular lifespan of this bulb was 27.4 years. 27+ years from the moment I attached this little bulb to her sparkly pink night-light, it would likely still be emitting a glow. 27.4 years! Paisley is a little more than four years old, and the day I changed that light bulb, I was 32. By the time this bulb reaches the end of its life, my daughter will be my age. And I will wonder how we got from here to there.
As a mom, I'm so caught up in the day-to-day. Do we have enough diapers to get my son through the weekend? Are there enough clean Hello Kitty socks and undies to see Paisley through the school week? Will she ever stop asking when she can have a snack? Will she ever do what I ask without arguing? I am sometimes frustrated by the fact that my daughter is always thinking – it takes a lot of energy to stay one step ahead of her. The truth about always thinking? So am I.
That little bulb shone a light on more than just Paisley’s bedroom; motherhood is going-going-going and trying, but often failing, to keep up. At least it feels that way to me. But one day, my daughter will be grown. She will have a life, and probably a family, of her own. By the time this light bulb fades away, she may be tucking in kids of her own in a house across town, or across the country from me.
27.4 years from now, will I be reveling in the spacious feeling of my empty nest, or wishing I could go back to the days when night-lights were of the utmost importance and my daughter slept in the room next to mine, always thinking? Only time will tell.