Oh, but it goes so fast! Enjoy time with your little kids now. Before you know it, they’ll be grown and gone. You’ll miss these days later. And on & on & on.
At a big box store about 20 years ago, my two boys, ages two and three, sat side-by-side laughing together as they did not follow my directions. I was obviously frustrated, trying to get them under control as I emptied my cart onto the conveyer belt. An older gentleman called out to me from the next line, “Enjoy it while it lasts. It goes so fast!” My immediate response was, “Well, it feels like the longest three years of my life!” We laughed.
Those little boys are 24 and 23 today. They are wonderful young men, self-reliant and gainfully employed. I’m pleased to announce they are not still fussing with each other when in the same room. It has gone so fast. Do I miss those days past? Yes, in my rearview mirror those toddlers and preschoolers are so dang cute.
Last night, I dreamt that I was a volunteer in my youngest son’s classroom. Apparently, he allowed me to put product in his hair that day. (In real life, this son loved having me in his classroom, older son not so much.) In this mind movie, a video had been taken of the kids during a lesson. On the video, my son walked from the front of the room to the back, tapping each desk as he passed and singing a little song.
It was sweetness itself, bringing tears to my eyes – in the scene as well as now, recalling and writing. Two boys in diapers eating not-adult meals yet, ganging up on me for fun, jumping off furniture, and teasing the dog brought me to tears in real life then. I do reminisce now about how cute they were and I miss those little terrors.
As toddlers and preschoolers rule your life, driving you to distraction or aggravation, it is perfectly normal to react with impatience or frustration. There is no way to truly appreciate, when you’re in the midst of the whirlwind, that those ages and stages are passing more quickly than it feels. Crises in the teenage years may provoke a yearning for “simpler” days, but only with the perspective of time can you look back with truly rose-colored glasses. I think we earn them when our children are independent.
Be patient with yourself in difficult situations. Breathe. Set clear expectations and consequences. Be consistent as much as possible. Let the easier moments become short films in your memory, not with pictures on your phone but by being fully present. Let the love shine through. Someday, those recollections will be what you carry with you when the kids are gone.
Sara’s education and experience: B.A. Ed; M.S. Counseling; teacher grades K & 2/3, educator for childcare providers, training in Positive Discipline and Growing, parent educator, program director of crisis nursery, including parent support, staff management & training, stay home mom 16 years with two sons born 19 months apart, medical transcription for 10 years in order to stay home, substitute teacher grades K through 12. Blogs about a wide variety of topics on survivingsara.net.