"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.