By Kelly Youngblood
There are certain things people “forget” to tell you before you have children.
Like how you will never sleep soundly for eight hours straight ever again. Or how a quick trip to the grocery store, or anywhere for that matter, is just a thing of the past. Or that bathing or showering without any sort of interruption will most definitely become a luxury. The list goes on and on.
And really, most days, I can deal with all of these trivial inconveniences (not that a lack of sleep should be taken lightly!). But I think the most difficult lesson I’ve learned that no one bothered to tell me before I had children is that one day, I will have to let my kids go. Insert sigh and sad face here.
Whether I’m sending them off to kindergarten, junior high, high school, or (gasp!) college, it’s a fact—at some point you just have to hand your kids over to the rest of the world and hope for the best.
There’s a quote I’ve heard before about parenting: “Give them roots to grow and wings to fly.” It sounds nice but what if they fly half way across the world and decide they like it in Australia and they would just as soon live there than the nice house I picked out for them right down the street from me?
Wow, this parenting stuff is hard.
My kids can drive me up a wall and I enjoy a temporary sanity break now and again, but when my oldest stayed with his Nana for a week this summer, I started to crumble a little by day three.
People tell me all the time, “It goes by so fast” or “Enjoy them now, because one day they will be all grown up.” I really don’t like hearing these things for a few reasons.
First of all, there are some days where I have a difficult time enjoying them. Take for instance, when we go to the grocery store.
I am that frazzled mom who looks like she’s on the brink of a breakdown. The one every other shopper passes by and looks at sympathetically. You can tell which ones are moms who were lucky enough to leave their kids at home because they just give you a knowing look that says, “I feel your pain.”
It’s kind of hard to savor every moment with your child when they’ve left a trail of destruction from the dairy section all the way to frozen foods.
Then there are the days I wish they would “hurry up” and be able to do certain things by themselves. When we are rushed in the mornings, I think it would be great if they could get up and make themselves breakfast or brush their teeth without me pinning them down to do it myself.
But I know one day, in the not-so-distant future, I will miss doing that kind of stuff for them. Maybe I will even miss our infamous trips to the grocery store. It’s kind of ironic, don’t you think?
The other statement, “It goes by so fast,” bothers me because I feel so helpless. As far as I can tell, there’s just not much you can do about that. There’s a song that says, “You can’t fence time.” And that is so true.
Time flies, kids grow up, and no matter what you do, there’s no remote control for life where we can pause, rewind or fast-forward moments. (If there were, my kids would probably lose it anyway.)
So what’s a mom (or dad) to do when she realizes her babies are or soon will be grown up? Really, I want to know. That’s not a hypothetical question. I would like an answer if anyone has one.
The best advice I can come up with is just to look on the positive side of every stage and phase your kids go through. And be grateful you got through the negative stuff too (newborn sleep schedules, diapers, potty training etc.).
There’s always fun stuff to look forward to with them, right? Well, maybe not the teenage years from what I’ve heard.
And as much as I would like them to stay little forever, that wouldn’t be very much fun for them. I’m sure I will be a little sad every time they hit a new milestone like starting a new school year, but I can be excited for them at the same time too!
Besides, I’ve got some of my own stuff to look forward to too. But that’s for another column. Right now, I’d better go enjoy a moment with my kids.