When you become a parent, everyone gives you the same advice: Enjoy every moment. “Of course I’m going to enjoy every moment,” you think. “How can I resist this cute, cuddly, perfect little bundle of joy?”
But when you’re running on less than two hours of consecutive sleep during the third feeding of the night, or your toddler is throwing a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store and you’ve tried everything you can possibly think of to console them, enjoying the moment is the LAST thing on your mind.
Sooner or later, you get stuck in what becomes the daily grind—get up, get the kids ready for daycare, go to work, come home, maker dinner, bath, bed, repeat. You start going through the motions and the days begin to blend together and everything becomes a blur, until one day you wonder, “where did the time go?”
My daughter recently turned four and I found myself asking that same question, where did the time go?
I’m starting to realize my little girl is not so little anymore. Looking back at pictures from last year, it’s clear she’s growing up right before my eyes…and quicker than I realized! Heck, she’s already half my height and has the attitude of a fourteen-year-old. She’s developing her own personality and definitely not a toddler anymore.
I miss her chubby little cheeks and tiny crooked smile, and the way she carried two nomi’s (her word for pacifiers) with her at all times—one in her mouth, and one in her hand. Even her sweet, little, innocent voice is starting to sound more mature. Where did the time go?
As parents we’re so focused on surviving the sleepless nights and trudging through the terrible twos and threes that somewhere in between the spit up and spilled Cheerios, our little ones outgrow our laps and learn to wipe off our kisses.
As much as I craved a little independence (and the ability to use the bathroom without her clinging to my side), I miss her begging me to carry her everywhere I go. I miss nap time and cuddling on the couch on a lazy Saturday afternoon. I miss being able to hug and kiss and squeeze her cheeks as much as I want, whenever I want.
I took those moments for granted, thinking they would last forever. Now, I wish I could have them back. Where did the time go?
These days, everything is go, go, go. Sitting on mommy’s lap and cuddling on the couch isn’t exactly her idea of fun anymore. She even wipes my kisses off! Can you believe that? We even had our first “I don’t like you mommy,” moment. I knew that day would come eventually, but OUCH! I would be lying if I said part of me wasn’t crying on the inside when those words came out of her mouth.
Part of me feels like I lost my little girl, while the other half of me is excited for all the new stages and adventures that are on the horizon. Soon she’ll be going to kindergarten, but before I know it she’ll be moving out and leaving for college. Okay, so maybe I’m over exaggerating. But for real, time flies when you’re a parent. One day you’re teaching your kids how to sing their ABCs, and the next they’re learning how to drive.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: When you’re stuck in the daily grind, it can be hard to appreciate all the chaos that comes with raising a child—the good, the bad and the down right poopy. I know this sounds cliche and you’ve probably heard it a million times before, but seriously ENJOY EVERY MOMENT!
Even though the lack of sleep is enough to make you loopy and the tantrums will make you want to pull your hair out, you will miss these moments. Take the good days with the bad and soak up all the precious memories you can.
Can you relate? How do you deal with all the emotions that come with watching your children grow up and what advice do you have for letting them go?