A friend alerted me (us?) to this article on Huffington Post in her Facebook status with a hearty “Amen!” When you bring an exclamation like “Amen!” into the picture, I am intrigued.
So, I read the article. It’s about something I am very familiar with. Infertility. And then pregnancy. And then getting what you want, only to turn around and say, why did I ask for this?
The chaos. The sleep-deprivation. The frustrations.
I know this, having two boys only 10 months apart in age, all too well.
I remember just weeks from my due date and my husband and daughter were teaching our middle son to crawl. I screamed, “Why are you doing this? I can barely see my toes. How am I going to chase a crawling gremlin?!?”
And then, just as our youngest was learning to crawl, my husband and daughter were teaching our middle son to walk. I screamed, “Why are you doing this? I can barely keep up with one little gremlin. Now you…”
But I stopped, mid-rant. What was the point?
Yes, it was tough. Yes, I snapped on more than one occasion. And when people said, “Enjoy these moments now. They grow up so fast!” I knew exactly what they were talking about.
My children are 10 years and then 10 months apart in age. I benefited from the experience of having been-there-done-that with my oldest.
With my daughter, when people would tell me to “enjoy her now” and that “they grow up so fast,” my eyes would glaze over and I would nod politely. I never quite felt the same anger towards those well-meaning people as the author of the Huffington Post article does, but I certainly agreed with him (at that time in my life) that their comments weren’t helpful. His annoyance is much stronger than mine was. He threatens to “break up with you” if you say it to him. He begs all well-meaning people out there to avoid that advice.
Well, with my “wealth” of experience, I’m about to rock his world.
Say it! Shout it! Climb onto the roof-tops and shout to every stressed out parent out there:
“Enjoy every precious and not so precious moment! They grow up so very, very fast!”
As annoying it may be to hear it the second time around, it made me pause. It reminded me to stop, take a breath and breathe in their sweet, grubby goodness. When my boys were 2 and just turned 3, my daughter was 13. Not needing me. Only around the house between school and gymnastics practice. Hugs were less frequent. And a tuck-in and a kiss goodnight was met with, “Mom?!? I’m not a baby anymore!”
My daughter, 10 years older than the next child, is a constant reminder of how fleeting those baby-toddler-childhood years truly are. Now in college, needing me so much less and at a university 4 hours away, I am missing her so much more. The grimy fingers. The skinned knees. The silly songs. The talks in the car. The butterfly kisses. Even the whining.
Oh sure, there were times when I’d hide in my closet, tears welling up because I thought I was going to lose it. I gave myself time-outs when I’d catch myself at the end of my rope. Parenting is not for the tender-hearted, and yet, it is.
Parenting is tough. Parenting can make you say and do things that you wish you hadn’t. But you pick yourself up, you learn from your failures (and we all have them) and you move on.
Much too quickly.
Because before you know it, they’re grown. They’re independent. They’ve taken all the skills you armed them with.
And they’re gone.