My kids are growing up. They’re growing up fast. When they were tiny everyone said, “Enjoy it. It goes by so quickly.” And I smiled and nodded and pretended to agree. But what did I know? How could it go by quickly?
Nothing feels quick about a baby who doesn’t sleep and each night stretches endlessly before us. The cycle of nursing, changing, rocking to sleep feels never-ending, not quick. They were my babies, the only way I’d ever known them.
But now I know better. Now I understand why everyone told me to enjoy it.
Because it goes by faster than you can imagine.
It seems like I had a baby and now I have a middle schooler. When my oldest turned 9, I panicked because our 18 years together were halfway over. It shocks me. And it makes me sad as I wonder where the time went. I regret not making the most of every moment, of not committing every precious thing to memory.
We all do this. But what if we stopped? What if we embraced it? Rather than being sad the Sesame Street days are over, we revel in the fact that these kids are teaching us how cool Guardians of the Galaxy is. Instead of being sad that a walk around the block no longer takes an hour due to stopping and inspecting every acorn, bug, and piece of grass, we smile because their long legs can walk faster than we can.
In these years of parenting tweens and teens, we get to watch our children make astute connections between something in life and something learned in school. We try to answer their silly philosophical riddles (What if the world is flat and dinosaurs live on the other side?). We have a chance to relearn which bands are cool and take fashion advice from people 25 years our junior. We discuss their talents and interests and how they want to use them. We see them hone their skills. We watch their faith mature. We sit back while they take over mowing the lawn or unloading the dishwasher. Moms, they can make their own snacks now! Rejoice!
Our babies were cute, our older kids are interesting.
Our toddlers were funny, our older kids are clever.
When they were babies didn’t we look at them in awe that we helped create them? Take a look at them now, these not-so-small humans and still be in wonder that you made that. Not because there’s a tiny face looking back, but because there sits a fully-formed human caught somewhere between child and adult. Who you still made. Who is still yours.
So much has passed, but so much good is yet to come. Be excited. Weep not for the memories (but don’t be surprised if your kids have never heard of that song). They can’t climb on your lap anymore, but they can look you straight in the eye.
They’re big now. But the memories of when they weren’t are ours to keep. They still bring the same amount of joy, it just comes in a different package.
And this is only the beginning.
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