Some days, I think about how one day when the kids are older we’ll have more money, we’ll have more time, we’ll have a cleaner house again, maybe newer things for change—but then I remember we won’t have this.

The joy and wonder of childhood. Those of us in this place of life with young families, new mortgages, and growing careers with what feels, at times, like so much to do and so little time are what so many want out of life . . . yet while we’re here in the middle of it, we forget sometimes. The young dream of this for their future and the old look back on it as some of the best days of their lives.

So I stop in the midst of the chaos and the stress sometimes and remind myself these are the best days of our lives.

I’ve watched older couples watch me and my family while we’re out. They’ll see me get my three kids settled at the table for our rare lunch out together or you’ll see me in the checkout line at the grocery store with my three children sometimes in states of obedience or in states of defiance. But more times than not, no matter what, I almost always see the faraway look in their eyes.

I see the way they look at my children as a life that passed them by way too quickly. An older lady or gentleman will stop me with that wistful look in their eye and no matter if it’s a moment the children are being little angels or little monsters, they’ll tell me how this time will go by too fast and to enjoy it because they’ll be grown and gone before I know it.

Even though I’ve heard it more times than I count, I want them to know I still appreciate the wisdom because before I know it, I will be you.

So for the ones who dream of this time in our lives as their future and those who look back to the past and wish to live it again I’ll remember this: 

When I’m at my wit’s end with the crying and the fighting I’ll remember that before too long all the noise will cease and silence will be in its place. I will take a deep breath, pick up the baby and hold him until the tears are no more. I will break up the fight between two little girls and remind them they are each other’s first and longest friend.

When I’m fighting with my child at the dinner table to eat one more bite, I’ll remember that before too long we’ll be sitting at that table all alone with no more childish chatter and giggles. I’ll keep the peace at the table so we can enjoy these nightly family dinners that will pass far too quickly.

When I’m up again each night because the baby is crying, a little girl is climbing in our bed, or I get a kick to the head from a little girl in our bed, I’ll remember that too soon we’ll be sleeping in this bed alone and the house will echo in that silence we once longed for. There won’t be any cries for momma or daddy to hold them until they fall asleep.

When I start feeling overwhelmed from running to practices, games, Girls Scouts meetings, and school event nights, I’ll remember that one day I won’t have much to do with my day.

I’ll trade in all those moments of wishing I had more time for myself to wishing I wasn’t by myself so much of the time.

So to the older gentleman or lady who tells me it goes too fast or the young lady or man saying they can’t wait to grow up and have a family of their own, I will do my best to not forget that these are the best days of our lives . . . because they really will be gone too quick.

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Angela Williams Glenn

Angela Williams Glenn writes about the struggles and joys of motherhood on her website Stepping into Motherhood. Her book Moms, Monsters, Media, and Margaritas examines the expectations verse the realities of motherhood in our modern day digital era and her book Letters to a Daughter is an interactive journal for mothers to their daughters. She’s also been published with Chicken Soup for the Soul, TAAVI Village, Bored Teachers, and Filter Free Parents. You can find her on her Facebook page at Stepping into Motherhood.