What parent doesn’t miss their children’s baby years? I’ll be the first one to admit that memories of those adorable cheeks, huge blue eyes, and the beautiful, pristine, blond, never-before-trimmed curls makes my heart melt with fondness and longing.
But then I stop and remind myself that now is the best time to make more sweet memories – time to make the most of the stages my children are in right now.
So many parents seem to cling to the past. They don’t want to acknowledge the fact that their kids are growing up and becoming independent young adults, so they scorn the teen years. It’s hard to accept and I understand that all too well. But it’s also hard enough for kids to navigate the teen years without mom or dad pining away for them to be babies again.
Perhaps we scorn the teen years because we do not relish the passage of time in our own lives. Time seems to speed by more and more quickly with each passing year. It can be dizzying even. So watching our kids grow up with lightning speed can be hard, especially when it seems like yesterday when we were that age.
Being Present in the NOW
I went to Christy Wright’s Business Boutique conference in Nashville this past weekend with my older daughter, Jacquelyn, and a friend. What an awesome time of fellowship and learning!
One of my many takeaways from this event was the premise that I need to be present for whatever life is presenting to me at that moment. Get off the phone, the computer, or anything else distracting me from someone who needs my attention, such as my husband or my children.
Allotting set times for certain activities is a huge step in the right direction. Confining your work to the time set aside for it, and not letting it creep into family time is something to stay constantly mindful of in our daily routines. It’s way too easy sometimes to think we have to be in a constant state of “busyness,” and to keep on working when we really should be available to the people in our lives that mean the most to us.
So be present when you can, and enjoy them when they are little. But also, enjoy them when they are older. It’s a mistake to get so caught up in wishing they were still little, that you miss out on what they are becoming.
Teenagers are awesome. No diapers to change. No strollers, diaper bags, and toys to haul everywhere. They can drive a car, mow the yard, cook meals, play sports, play music, do beautiful artwork, and write profound words and express beautiful thoughts, if we allow them to. See 57 Reasons to Love Teenagers and Another 57 Reasons to Love Teenagers.
Your teens are also in a critical stage of learning. They are learning what you expect of them and how you are going to view them as adults. And they are learning how to BE adults. They still need your guidance, but you have to deliver it to them in a different way from when they were toddlers or young children.
You have to be cleverer and more resourceful now than before. You used to be physically bigger. Now, they can look you in the eye. Maybe even tower over you. It can be a daunting prospect.
Just remember – you WANT them to grow up and develop independence. Jokes are made about millennial adult children moving into the basement or the spare bedroom of their parents’ home. It’s easy to laugh, but then the jokes become reality. Yikes! Such arrangements are unhealthy for everyone, both parents and children.
I know watching them grow up is hard. The speed of it takes your breath away sometimes. But watching them grow up can also be heartwarming and rewarding if we are conscious to make the most of what we have right now.
Time stands still for no man, and for no parent. Savor every moment. And don’t forget your camera.
What about you? How do you deal with the rapid passage of time? What tips can you give other parents for living in the NOW and enjoying your life with your kids? I would love for you to share your thoughts in the comment section below. As always,