My son recently came to find me in our house in Flower Mound, Texas after his most recent birthday. He was upset and when I asked why, he stated that he did not want to be a year older.
As a parent, this took my breath away. This made me pause. This also confused me a little, as kids so often want to speed up time and get to the next big thing in life, while parents so often want to slow down or even stop time completely to soak up one more minute of little feet, of new smiles, of giggling toddlers, and so on and so forth. But, it isn’t always so cut and dry.
When I sat down and spoke with my son, I realized that he’d already jumped ahead in his mind to the age of more responsibility, more work, and less fun. So, an easy and gentle reminder for him was to “be here now.” A reminder to him to enjoy this stage, these fun events, schoolwork he could handle, and age-appropriate responsibilities. All this did help to ease his worried mind.
It helped him to see that he’s right where he should be, and that this time right now will help prepare him for middle school and high school and college and beyond. It validated for him that those stages do look scary, and even a little boring, to a young kid looking up at them. But, he’ll be ready when those stages arrive, they just aren’t here yet; it was also a reminder to me that as his mom, I’m not there yet either.
He’s my youngest, the baby of our family, so every stage he closes, closes for me as his mom as well.
This time of year in our house, when we purge and donate the old to make room for the new, it’s always a reminder of where we’ve been with both kids and where we’re going too. We laugh and reminisce about the toys and clothes and games and books being given away, things that brought us so much joy and growth, and will hopefully do the same for other young children and families who are growing older as well.
There’s so much growth right here right now, but also so much grief too. At every stage of growth in life, there’s always the loss of what’s being left behind as well.
But, then I’m brought back to the reality of my life today, and the kids are arguing incessantly about something silly and the house is a disaster that no one is cleaning up, and I’m reminded that as much as I do love these precious little moments in time, sometimes I don’t want to slow things down or stop time, sometimes I’m actually ready for the next stage to begin for all of us. The stage where the kids better understand each other. Where they can come from a place of love and empathy and support for one another, and for their parents as well.
So, as always, it’s the pull of the precious moments from the past and the vivid dreams for an amazing future, while also trying my best to simply “be here now.” Right here, enjoying and soaking up every minute of this beautiful and messy time in life.
As a parent, are you also trying to embrace this messy, beautiful time in your own life?