“It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn’t.” ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams
Yesterday morning, after chatting with one of my dear friends, I found myself wishing nostalgically for “the toddler years”…thinking back to how easy life seemed back then. There was no school…none that mattered anyway…no homework…no dashing around…no pubescent stress…no impending high school drama…no acne. Only sticky toddler kisses, potty training and play time.
Seems like life was much simpler then—or was it? Maybe I’m having an attack of selective memory. That happens to me a lot.
Maybe what was simpler was the outlooks of my children. There were no big, life changing decisions to be made. Just drawing pictures of stick people—who really weren’t stick people at all. Instead, they were circles with four lines sticking out around the circle and their flat hair drawn oh-so-carefully on top. Writing stories about happy round stick people. Happy little stories. And them saying things like, “See my stick people? They are happy.” Lots of “Play with me, Mommy. Look at what I made, Mommy. Read to me, Mommy. What is this, Mommy?” Slower pace. Stopping to smell the roses and all that. Ahh, sweet simplicity. ::sigh::
They didn’t look beyond that moment. And I don’t think I did either. Back when they were 4, the future seemed a long way off. And now, suddenly, it’s HERE. The future has snuck up on me and WHACKED me on the head. It’s daunting. And it seems like life is so serious all the time. Boooo seriousness. Boo stress. Boo dashing about like a lunatic.
I spent so much time back then wanting to get through the current stage of life. With the constant, “when they get older, things will be easier” rolling around in my head. What was I thinking?! Each stage brings its own set of challenges, stresses—and joys. It’s funny how I used to want to speed time up and now I just wish we could slow it down.
But I am so easily sucked in by all the hustle and bustle. Worrying about “getting things done”. I do try very hard to relish every moment. Because I think now I realize how fast it all goes by. I am trying very hard to watch my kids. I mean, really watch them. Take it all in and slow down a little. It is not easy. And it takes conscious effort.
Because really, even though they might not be saying the actual words anymore, my kids are STILL saying, “play with me, watch me, what is this, Mom”. I just have pay a little closer attention so I don’t miss it. And isn’t that the whole point?