Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Those Were The Days . . .

"Enjoy this time - they grow up so fast"!  How many times do parents hear those prophetic words?  When they are crying in a supermarket checkout line, throwing a tantrum when they don't want to leave somewhere, or when they spit vegetables back at you during dinner - most parents yearn for the day when they will actually grow up.

For some reason over the past couple of days, I have been watching toddlers and feeling a little sad.  How did my sons grow up so fast?  While walking at the track at my local YMCA today, I took a water break to watch the toddler gymnastic class going on below me.  Mothers coaxed their children over balance beams and through tunnels, praising them at every accomplishment.  It seems like only yesterday that I was doing that with my sons in a baby swim class, trying to get them to put their face in the water and blow bubbles.

Now I just sit on the sidelines during their activities, watching them as they do karate kicks or run the bases, and it isn't as much fun.  Gone are the days of taking afternoon naps after watching Barney - now they want to stay up until 10:00 PM to watch wrestling (which doesn't happen!).  Trying to get them to sit through an entire movie with me is torture for them - they always want to go off and do another activity.

A few years back I bought a book called "Let Me Hold You Longer" by Karen Kingsbury which takes a different view of children growing up.  The story is talks about how parents put so much emphasis on the "first" time a child does something, like walk or talk, but how they fail to remember the "last" times.  Who remembers the exact last time you put your child in a stroller?  Or the last time they drank from a bottle?  When these milestones arrived in our family, I'm sure we were relieved.  No more bottle washing and hauling strollers around - but now I wish I remembered the specific instances and had take more notice.

The grass always seems greener on the other side; I think some of the bad times have faded away.  How could I forget "cranky time", when my oldest would cry from 5:30-7:00 every evening?  I remember putting my key in the front door after work and hoped to hear silence - I rarely did.  At the time my children were infants/toddlers we had very busy lives.  We both worked and had very long commutes.  We did the absolute best we could with the time we had.  Life is a little slower now and I wish I had the time I have now to spend with them, but now they are in school full time.

I will always have new milestones to look forward to.  Next year my oldest will start middle school, and after that there will be a litany of firsts - first job, driver's license, first date.  I'm not sure I'm looking forward to some of the future milestone - they seem rather scary.  Does anyone have a time machine?  I would like to go back and have a just one more day that began with a sippy cup of milk on the bed watching Sesame Street, or an afternoon on the couch with a sleeping baby on my chest.

But there will always be photos . . . and the memories!


Sharon said...

Love this post...and can totally relate!

Lori said...

Wow...this one made me cry. I remember " cranky time"...and really miss having a little one want to watch a favorite episode of Barney or Bear In the Big Blue House and would cuddle up next to you ....and I am only their Aunt!!I have spent many a day living vicariously through you since I have no little ones of my own and also miss those times. I do look forward to many of the big achievements to come but my heart still melts when someone wants to hold my hand or is excited when I make time to go to whatever is happening at the time....sports,school events..whatever ! They do grow up....but as old as we are....remember that there is not a day that goes by that we don't still wish out Mom was here....and they will always know that you are watching as they succeed.....even if it is from the sidelines !!!