This morning, as I was walking around upstairs, in and out of my children’s rooms, looking at the posters on the walls and the trinkets lining the shelves and the mascara that had rolled off of the counter onto the floor – I was struck once again with a familiar feeling.
The years go fast. Don’t they?
When the kids were little, I would hear that and cringe a little.
With four children so close in age, there was a time in my life when I was living in survival mode. Nursing infants in the night, caring for sick toddlers, wondering what to do when a tantrum would arise.
It was wonderful, but it was a lot.
I was so often in a place of physical exhaustion.
And I would hear people say to cherish it and that the years go so fast and I would think, “Really? Because I’m pretty sure this day is stretching on forever.”
There is so much I loved and cherish about those years, but the reality is – it was hard. And I felt guilty. Like I should be appreciating it more because of how fast everyone told me it would go.
Now, as the kids are growing older, I see clearly there was nothing to feel guilty about.
Yes, it goes fast, but that doesn’t mean you have to love and appreciate every little second. It’s okay to say it’s hard and you are tired and you need a minute for yourself. That doesn’t make you a bad parent. That doesn’t mean you don’t love your children.
You just need a minute. Or an hour. Or a day. Or a vacation.
Like we all do sometimes.
I am inching closer and closer to the time when my children will start to head out the door to be on their own. And this is what we hope to equip them for. Right?
But sometimes, I feel a pressure building. It’s different than when they were little.
This pressure is filled with thoughts like: Are they ready? Have I taught them enough? Do they know the important things in life?
I start to feel the clock ticking and I remember, even when they are gone from the home – I will always be their mom. That will never change. There isn’t a time limit on how long I can teach them or influence them or encourage them or nurture them.
Parenting is funny like that.
We put so much pressure on ourselves in different stages.
Today, as I walked around their rooms, I was reminded once again of how fast it goes. Of how big they are and of how proud of each of them I am.
What a joy it is to be on this wild and crazy journey of parenting. I pray that is where I can rest. In the joy. That I can lay down the guilt and the pressure and remember I’m doing my best. Just as they are. I am building relationships with my children.
I understand how you feel. I have four children myself. All grew up way to fast, but all are amazingly kind, patient and loving. You are one of those people Jennifer. I am proud of you.
Aww, thanks dad! That means a lot to me. Thank you for always being there. I love you so much!