Sometimes all it takes for me to have a sudden rush of appreciation for motherhood is the sight of something simple. Today, that simple something was in the fridge: the rows of small Gatorade bottles arranged on the bottom shelf. Their signature shape and colors of white, blue, and green all ready to be grabbed by little hands. A staple in so many households; especially, it would seem, in a house with any active boy. It happens so naturally: that first year of any youth sport, when suddenly Gatorade is on your shopping list. And it has very suddenly made me appreciate these years that have already gone by way too fast.
I have a strong feeling that I’ll be buying Gatorade for the next 13 years, at least. My son is 5 and the Gatorade started with his first season of t-ball a year ago. My husband and I both shared a laugh and a similar story about our childhood that involved what a big deal it was to get a Gatorade before a game. So it became a sort of inside joke that we had somehow “made it” because we were able to get our son the Gatorade. I need to point out that of course I make my son drink water because that’s the best option but that’s not what this is about. For my husband, simply playing any sport was a big deal in itself. There was no extra money for things like stopping at the store for a Gatorade before the game. Water was free. You’d drink it and like it. Everything my husband does now is to give our son those little things that never have to seem like a big deal to him, because every single thing was a big deal to him growing up because it had to be.
But now those Gatorades in our fridge symbolize my growing boy. Their small size are perfect for his little hands after a hot day in the sun. But soon, in what will seem like brief seconds, the size of the bottles will grow and soon will those tiny hands. Soon bigger, growing young man hands will reach for bigger bottles of Gatorade on the bottom shelf on the fridge, exhausted after a long day of school and whatever extracurricular activity he chooses to pursue. Then suddenly, before I know it and long before I’m close to ready, it’s the biggest bottles of Gatorade being shoved into backpacks and downed by my suddenly grown child and his wolf pack of friends as they jet off in cars and further away from the nest. Yet still, I’ll forever buy the Gatorade. So my precious son can always come wandering in my kitchen and at whatever age, can find that Gatorade on the bottom shelf.
“The days are long, but the years are short.” There is no truer quote to describe motherhood. I am grateful for this life. And I am grateful for the Gatorade I see in my fridge.