18 Summers

The first piece of parenting advice I ever got was the traditional cliche...

"Enjoy him. They grow up so fast."

I nodded and smiled because I'm polite like that, but inside I was thinking, "Whatever, lady. Let's get him sleeping through the night and using the toilet and reading his own bedtime books.  Like, pronto."

Then, soon enough, he was getting a solid eight hours and wearing big boy underwear and reading chapter books to himself by the light of his bedside lamp.

Then he turned ten.  And it suddenly occurred to me that in just ten more years, he will be the very same age I was when I received that sage wisdom ten years ago.

They grow up so fast.

In the grind of long, grueling days followed by night after night of inadequate quantities and quality of  sleep it is so hard to remember how fleeting these moments are.  On the days when bad attitudes prevail, nothing gets finished, and everything seems wrong, or at least, insufficient, it's impossible to think that we will ever miss these times.  But we will.  I already do.

I would go so far as to say that I mourn for the time I've squandered and wished away.  Precious memories I missed making.  Moments I could have lived instead of wasting.  I say it not as a regret, but as a reminder to myself that the time is now for making memories.  The time is now for having that difficult conversation. Or maybe just the boring ones.  The time is now to hold the baby for a few extra minutes, to skip schooling to play at the playround every once in a while, to pile in the car on a spontaneous trip, to read an extra bedtime book, to play silly make-believe games that involve fending off creepy cats with the push of a force field button.

Even though I know I would really, truly love some long, good quality sleep from my precious five month old Noah, I remember that ten year old Ben was but a tiny, sleepy baby just a few winks ago. And I shouldn't, can't, won't wish that time away.

As we approach summertime, I implore you, parents, not to enter into it with a negative attitude. Yes, your kids will be home from school. Yes, the days will be long. Yes, you might want to put them outside and lock the door some of those days. But, attitude is everything. Make a happy home. Make it count. We only get 18 summers. And when it gets put that way, doesn't it make you want to cherish the moments? Think of this time and these kids not as burdens to bear, but blessings to behold.

For now, I will remind myself over and over agin that these are the days. The days that count. The days where memories are made. They don't have to be magical, but I pray they will be happy and full of love.

They grow up SO fast.


Melisaism said...

Love this, Jennie! So true.

Sharon said...

Jennie, I've got tears in my eyes. My *babies* are now 27 and 31, and though I celebrate their lives, I miss their presence in my empty nest a lot. On the other side of their growing up, I can tell you for sure that the time goes way too fast!!

Enjoy every moment, even the tough ones, for they do pass quickly. But, the seeds of motherhood that we plant now grow someday into a tree of friendship that will always last.


Debbie said...


It probably won't surprise you to hear that summer was my favorite time of the year, even though I hate the heat, when the girls were of school age. I loved having them home. I got NOTHING accomplished around here because we just played the months away. I loved it.

And... do you realize that I stood there running my trap to you and Sam at the church and NEVER got to hold Noah????

I realized it on the car ride home. I almost called Grammie's cell phone to see if I could come by the house,for a minute but that was rude and I knew it.

I'm going through a personal sadness these days which has messed up my head. Sigh.

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