Wednesday, March 6, 2013
I was never one to get emotional at my kids' milestones. When breast feeding was complete I felt liberated, when my kids started walking, I was happy for their independence (and my aching back) and I remember at my first child's first birthday party my husband and I high fived each other in celebration that we survived-both the baby and our marriage! When other parents were welting up at the bus stop as their 5 year olds boarded the bus to go off to elementary school, I was all smiles at the thought of what we had done in preparation for our kids to fly from the nest (and the joy of no more day care payments). I love my kids, but I was not sentimental about letting each of the early stages go becuase these times were quite emotionally challenging for me!
My husband and I both knew we would love having older kids, but the baby/toddler stage just wasn't our thing. I remember rushing through each milestone doing mental checks in my head knowing we were that much closer to having elementary age school children. I have never cued at a baby or had even a fleeting thought of having another child once I knew our family was complete in 2006. I have looked back from time to time, not wishing to do it over again -because for me the experience was really quite hard. But I have wished that I knew then what I know now...
All those annoying people who made it a point to tell me to enjoy it now becuase it goes so fast-were right!
It was like the universe was amplifying these sentiments to me yesterday. I was paying keen attention to the young families around me. I'm sure I am surrounded by similar experiences all the time, but for some reason I was really attuned to moms and young kids during my daily errands. I saw a mom mouthing the words to 'Wheels on the Bus' as she drove along in her hot mama mini van in attempt to calm crying baby, I chucked as I witnessed a 3 year old potty catastrophe in the gym locker room, and I felt for the mom who was dealing with a two year old twins tearing everything off the shelf at the grocery store while she was attempting to fill her cart. All three of these women were taking these situations in stride-each with grace and/or humor. These are the very things that used to send me over the edge when I was living it. I would correct the situation as quickly as I could and hope for time to hurry up and get here so I could have older and more independent kids. These are the very moments I now remember fondly as I look at other families in the trenches-but I didn't enjoy it AT ALL while I was there.
I wished I would have slowed down, had a laugh and enjoyed the moment for what it was.
I can't turn back the hands of time, and I won't tell you to "enjoy every moment" becuase that is soooo unrealistic-but I can take these lessons and experiences and apply them to today. Yes, these little monsters are demanding, frustrating and all consuming-but they are also so damn cute for such a short period of time. I hope if you are anything like I was, or just in a frustrated space right now, that this post will encourage you to slow down, enjoy most of the moments (even the difficult ones) and to have few regrets when your kids are older and don't depend on you so much.
And for me...I will keep these thoughts with me when I am reading my 6 year old son the same Star Wars book for the 162nd time, I step on a lego in the middle of the night, when both kids come home from school and explode their shoes, back packs and half eaten lunches all over my house, or my 8 year old daughter is bargaining for just 2 more minutes of a back tickle when I just want her to go to sleep already! I will remember that these experience will soon be a fond memory, so I will stay in the moment and enjoy! But most importantly, I won't wait for these experiences to be memories before I enjoy them. I will appreciate them today. In turn, I may be the one balling my eyes out at the 5th grade graduation ceramony in just a few short years!
When these times are gone, I will long for the days my kids wanted me around!