“Enjoy this phase while it lasts because you’ll miss it one day.” How many times have you heard that phrase in your lifetime? How many times have you found that to be true? Hindsight is 20/20 so how do we appreciate the present and live without regrets?With my youngest finally starting to sleep through the night at the ripe age of 13 months, I feel like I am just now starting to see the light at the end of this dark, long tunnel. This tunnel is one many childless parents want to be in and the same one parents of older children wish they could return to as they were “the simpler days”. It’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to be up all hours of the night and treated like a servant to every beck and call of three children ages 1, 3 and 4. But maybe they are onto something.
Lately, I’ve found myself observing my children as they play. Hearing the urgency in their voice as they make-believe over-the-top plots, watching my youngest walk right up to my oldest and genuinely hug her and lay her head against her sister’s chest. My heart explodes.
Right now, my husband and I have the most influence over our children but soon, their peers will take over that role. Gradually, like the unraveling of a ball of yarn, we will release our hold on them. This is a terrifying and exciting thought. We raise them to be good citizens and recognize that to some extent, their manners are a reflection of our efforts in their early years.
I’ll never forget the day I told my mom I was too heavy for her to carry me up the stairs to bed. But she did, struggling under my weight the whole way. As I rested my cheek on her shoulder, I knew it would be the last time. I think of moments like this when I look at my three little girls and remind myself to put down the phone, the sponge, the agenda and to sit down and play.
We appreciate the present by engaging in it. By listening to our elders and their warnings that even though it doesn’t feel like it now, one day, we will miss these days. If only we could have the foresight to see its truth.