“We’re taught to expect unconditional love from our parents, but I think it is more the gift our children give us. It’s they who love us helplessly, no matter what or who we are.” – Kathryn Harrison, The Kiss
Time really does fly, doesn’t it? I remember when I was younger having older people come up to me and say how important it is to not want to grow up too fast. Enjoy my youth. I’m only a child once, but an adult forever. I specifically have a vivid memory of my mom with her jet-black perm bending down to look into my eyes and tucking a strand of my hair behind my ear and saying, “ You have so much life ahead of you.” But, while we are children, we can’t really understand what those words mean. However, as the years past, they resonate within me.
Some seasons seem to drag on at a snail’s pace, while others seem to be as if you blinked you would miss it. When my children were younger, it seemed to be like time actually stopped. The days were all the same filled with changing diapers, washing bottles, washing clothes, washing children….y’all get my drift. Everyday the hours would pass with nap times, fits and making meals and snacks. It was my own personal “Groundhog Day.” I really think that’s when I noticed my first gray hair! Every once in a while, someone would pat me on the hand, and reassure me that this indeed was a season, and to enjoy every minute of it because it would be over before too long. I would shake my head in appreciation of the encouragement, but roll my eyes inside because I was in the middle of a terribly emotionally draining time.
Now, I’m on the other side. I don’t know when it happened, but one day I woke up and we were in warp speed. With three kids, and two of them being teenagers, they rush in from one place and rush out to another in a blur. And, I’m left there behind in the whirlwind’s aftermath feeling my heart hurt just a bit that I’m not needed like I used to be.
It’s the worst with my daughter. She’s the oldest, and next year she will be a senior in high school. I dread the springtime because all of those graduation commercials come on that show the little girls playing in the yard and then she’s all grown up driving away to college. I become a blubbering mess full of snot and tears. It’s become a family joke. I used to not be that way. I was the one that didn’t cry at movies very much, or gush over babies. But, now, it’s all over. I have to carry little Kleenex packets in my purse to wipe my teary eyes. I blame it on hormones!
But, it’s really true. I do see my daughter as the little girl with bangs that liked to play softball. How she used to stand in the doorway and gather speed to jump in the bed with us on Saturday morning. I feel her sweet soft cheek against my own as we hug and kiss goodnight after she told me about her day. And, just as quickly as those days came and went, I see her standing before me as a Godly, faithful and beautiful young woman. She is an authentic, strong and compassionate person that I truly love being around. And, although I am so looking forward to what the future holds, I hope that the time we spent together when I was a young mom, and she was my little girl was all that I could’ve made it to be. I hope we had more good days than bad ones. I hope we had more laughs than we had tears. I hope she looks back with fondness. I just hope. Oh gosh, these darn hormones!
Now, I’m the one saying to take it slow. I’m the one saying don’t grow up so fast. Now, I’m the older one. And, it’s true. I’m learning to soak in the days like the warm sun, and to let the memories imprint themselves on my soul. It makes me feel so grateful that the Lord saw me fit to be a mom to these children. And, just as He was ever so capable of being with me through those seasons when it was slow, He is with me now when I am fast-forwarding through these precious years with my children. And, He will be there when they leave my husband and I to set our on their own adventures. But, hey, I’m sure my husband and I have many more adventures to be had, too!
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; Ecclesiastes 3:1-8