“Enjoy it. It goes so fast.” At the time when my friend said this, I rolled my eyes, blowing her off. I mean, really? It was easy for her to say. Her nest was empty — her babies had already flown the coop — the last of her three heading to college this year.
Meanwhile, I was in the throws of swim diapers and soggy fish crackers, chasing two toddlers around the pool, without a moment to sit, let alone relax. What part of the constant loading, unloading, packing, unpacking, rangling part was supposed to bring me joy? How could I actually enjoy this?
She sat there flipping through a magazine, a grin across her well-rested face.
Summer for me meant little-to-no break. From sunrise to sunset, I was in full-time parenting mode, filling it with trips to the park, play dates, the YMCA, the pool. Bags packed full of snacks, sippy cups, and the like... loading two kids into and out of a car for another outing, managing moods, tantrums, and sleep schedules. My sanity.
These days were long. Like, oh. So. Long.
Only, in a blink of an eye...
I now find myself on the other side.
Sitting in a chair, chatting with a friend, only peeking up occasionally to get proof-of-life of my gangly teens. A nostalgic grin comes across my face as I watch a young mom chasing her toddler down to the water’s edge, leaving a trail of ten-tons of stuff in her wake.
You see, what I didn't know then that I know now is my friend was right.
Those long, tiresome days chasing littles across the pool deck transformed into ones that moved at lightning speed. It's like overnight a switch was flipped and I could slow down long enough to foresee the future.
I can now visualize the moment these not-so-little people will be flying my coop, no longer residing under my roof. And, I can feel gratitude for the moments that we do have.
What is universal for most parents of older kids is the gift of perspective.
It doesn’t mean life gets less busy, and I still don't enjoy every part of it, but there are more opportunities to sit back and soak up the experiences you know with each passing day are becoming fewer and further in between.
So, I say to you young momma... enjoy it.
It goes so fast. Even on the longest days.
Go ahead and roll your eyes. I get it.
You probably won’t understand it, until you do.
Written by Valli Gideons on My Battle Call
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