How many times have you heard someone say, “It goes by way too fast! Enjoy every moment!” in reference to your kids. I can only speak for myself, but the numbers in my bank account would be significantly larger if I had a nickel for every time I’d heard that phrase.
I know it’s well-meaning, and I also know that it’s true. It does go by quickly. I’ve learned that in my nearly three short years of parenting. But I also know that it’s impossible to enjoy every moment. Yes. I said IMPOSSIBLE.
When Beckett is thrashing his body around and screaming bloody murder during one of his frequent toddler tantrums, I’m trying my best not to lose my sanity. Enjoying it isn’t even on my radar.
If you’ve managed to make it through a week of parenting, I’m going to guess that there has been at least one moment that you haven’t enjoyed. Right?
And you know what? THAT IS OK. Despite what the 85-year-old woman in the produce section told you last week, you have my permission to not enjoy every moment.
In light of my grandpa’s recent passing, I’ve been thinking a lot about my grandma. I’ve been thinking about how at this point, she probably wishes she could go back and do it all over again. All of it. The good days when her children were perfectly behaved and even the bad days when she thought she would lose her you-know-what and pull her hair out. The times of plenty and the times of want. The times of feeling like they had that whole marriage thing all figured out and the times where it required a little more effort.
Because you can’t experience the best moments in life without experiencing the difficult ones. And when you lose your soulmate, I’m sure you feel like those moments that filled you to the brim with joy all live in the rearview mirror.
Naturally, this got me to thinking about how I need to make a conscious effort to truly savor every moment I have with my loved ones. Because I know that one day, I too will reach a point where I want this back. I’ll want to relive it.
I’ll yearn for the days when my boys both wanted me to carry them at the same time. The stillness of an empty home will magnify the absence of a crying baby and a shouting toddler. Eating dinner in silence (something I sometimes wish for these days) will feel lonely and isolating in comparison to the daily persuasion Justin and I put forth to get Beckett to eat anything on his plate.
So yes, I can recognize that I’m going to miss this. I can recognize that it’s going to go by in the blink of an eye. But I also recognize that, despite these things, the days are still long sometimes – like really really long. And they’re not always filled with moments that are anywhere close to enjoyable.
But here’s what I think we can do as parents – we can make a conscious effort to enjoy the good moments. They may be few and far between some days, but there’s something good in every day. Even if Beckett has had a horrendous terrible twos day, hearing him say “I love you” at the end of the day is one of my favorite things in the world. And when Callahan wakes up earlier than I’d prefer, looking into his crib and seeing his big toothless grin makes that early wake-up call more than worth it. The joy I feel from those good moments are incomparable to anything else I’ve experienced.
So know this – you are NOT a bad parent if you don’t enjoy every moment. You’re human. You’re doing the best you can. But what you’ll want back at the end of this life, what you’ll want to relive and experience again are the good moments. So do everything in your power to savor those. Soak them in. Feel them with every part of your soul, every part of your being. Feel them so deeply that your heart wants to explode. Because, yes, those do go by way too quickly. And you definitely should enjoy them while you can.
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