When I am out with my youngest, who is 3, Moms will say things to me things like, “Enjoy it now; it goes by so fast!” What they don’t know is that I have a 19-year old and a 16-year old and, oh, I know, how quickly time goes by as a parent.
I’m pretty sure that if I did say that I would also begin sobbing about how I-miss-my-babies-and how-I-hardly-get–to-see-them-because-they’re-older-and-living-their-own-lives-and-they-do-not-need-their-mom-as-much–as-they-did-when-they-were-3 ½.-Wasn’t-that-just-yesterday?!
And wouldn’t that be awkward?
Instead, I smile and say “yeah, you’re right.” Or laugh politely instead of breaking down into a puddle yearning for those days.
No one warns you how quickly the time will go by as a parent. And if they did, would we listen? We’re way too busy in the muck of the day-to-day struggle of teaching your little ones to be people and to ‘oh my gosh do not put that in your mouth’ and the ‘go to bed so help me.’ We can’t possibly understand that one day we may actually miss it all.
I thought for sure that with my youngest it wouldn’t feel so fast because I made a conscious decision to focus on cherishing each moment, even the hard ones. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work, and even now I am misty-eyed wondering where my little baby went and who is this feisty little person talking non-stop beside me? (and seriously, he talks non-stop, like all. the. time.)
It’s the ultimate parenting irony: Working so hard to raise our children to be independent and to think on their own and then when they start doing it we wish they were dependent on us for a little while longer.
I try to remember the sweet and not-so-sweet moments by documenting them either by photo or in a journal. What do you do to remind yourself to cherish this crazy time in your life?