The School Year is OV-AHHH!!!!! Whether it’s your baby’s first year in pre-school, or they are moving on up to Kindergarten, Middle School, Junior High, Senior High or even College, I’m seeing an increasing number of posts on my social media, of my mom friends who are amazed at how big their kiddos are getting. So it got me thinking about my own little ones and how they are a big part of my Method of Inspiration….
Have you ever had someone say, “Don’t wish the time away….they are only little once!” And when they do say it, you plaster a smile on your face, or give a laugh and a hand wave as if to say, “who me?! NEVER!”; but you are possibly feeling HUGE guilt and TOTAL frustration at the same time, because you sort of were? Well I sure have. Moms….Friends….Momming is HARD WORK. Managing life with little ones needing you for every single function that happens in their day, can be both rewarding and exhausting. Yet, it seems frowned upon to be exhausted, and dare I say, CRANKY about the situation, because we have been given this awesome gift of being mom’s. Let me take a moment here to show off the littles that gave me that Mom Title.
In 2005, Kent and I were blessed with this little human. Devon was born 2 months premature, for no reason. Between reaching up for God’s help, and having extreme gratitude that we lived in a country, at a time, where modern medicine was totally ready to care for him, that’s how we made it through this very unplanned experience. After a scary first week, my 3 pound, 5 ounce baby was breathing on his own, and his slow and very steady growth to becoming a very UN-preemie baby began. After 40 days in the hospital, he came home and we were so thrilled to finally all be under the same roof!
There are a lot of challenges that come with your first born, being born this early, with no frame of reference to know what to do in the BEST of times, let alone the times that are incredibly challenging, scary, and making your heart skip a beat. His eating, his sleeping (oh man it was hard to let him sleep! I was so scared that tiny body would forget to breathe. So instead of me sleeping, I just watched HIM sleep and worried about if he’d wake up.), his general development was under a microscope, and I was the one looking through the lens. But by 6 months old, the doctor was incredibly proud of him….he was up to “full term status” and was on the “chart” for full term babies. We had made it!!! And strangely, I don’t remember feeling like it was a hard journey; but it also wasn’t a fast journey. The days felt like they went slow….but those first few years passed by so fast.
Then in 2008, we created this gorgeous little one to complete our family…
Our darling Sophia…..if there was a moment where I realized this journey with baby #2, and a girl, would be different than that one I had gone through 3 1/2 years earlier, it was immediately! It’s amazing how much confidence the doctors, nurses and health care professionals have in you when you are already a mom of one or more. But I have a confession to make….I had no idea what to do with a full term baby, who needed no extra care or appointments. All opportunities I had had before to chat with the health care professionals about the things that were going on, were gone….deemed unnecessary. It was, more like, “off you go now!”
While I would have loved to say I pulled up my big girl / Mom panties in Sophia’s first year, I did not. The days dragged on, the nights even longer. She didn’t eat. She didn’t sleep unless it was for a 45 minutes segment of the day, never at night. She didn’t put on weight. She didn’t nurse well and refused a bottle. She only wanted mommy….which both made my heart swell and want to sink at the same time. That first year….friends the days passed by SO SLOWLY; yet it came and went.
And then suddenly, as I trudged through the fog, I saw that I now had these two small people, who love each other so much, who I love like a wild and crazy animal over her young, and they are out of the tiny baby stages, one well past toddler, the other just in the middle of it. While we were done with most of the sleepless nights, we were soldiering on through a second round of potty training. They are walking, talking, dancing, shouting, learning and growing! DAILY! I see clear signs of their personalities, their loves, their dislikes, and my love for them grew every single day too….even after moments of how much of a stinker each could be individually, or when they would team up! So young, yet so willing to gang up on Mommy and work together for both good and bad! haha.
Those days seemed to drag on, and not necessarily in a negative connotation….but then all of sudden a couple more years had passed so quickly. And here we are to today, and even this picture is over half a year old and I think they look so different from it as I write this!
As I look at this, and wonder, how the heck did they get to be 10 and 7, I realize, while some of the days sure can go by slow like molasses on a cold January night, the years are passing by quickly. We have about 7 1/2 more years of life at home with Devon before he is graduated High School and off to college to pursue his dreams, which are still stirring up slowly inside of him. Less than 8 years to continue to teach him how to be a man, a good friend, how to respect women of all ages, how to have a strong work ethic, be resilient, trustworthy, confident, proud, happy, as well as humble, grateful, able to give grace and receive it, and live a life with Christ in it. And then right around 11 more years with Sophia. It’s not as easy on it’s own, let alone when you have so many outside influences working against you.
Do you find that life starts to get really real at some point, and what we want for our kids has to become something we keep at the forefront of our minds even moreso as they grow older? And I’m not talking about seeing them excel in sports or extra curricular activities. I’m talking school. Their education. But even more than that, their ESSENCE. Who they really are, and the confidence to embrace it. The path they will walk to become a successful, fully functioning adult member of society, not just to live in it; but to make it better. Once they are a certain age, we don’t oversee everything they watch, hear, eat, create or interpret anymore. Society has no intention of building them up to be the kind of adult we want for them. No…we cannot leave it up to YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, or any other self involved app that comes along, let alone celebrities who they may admire. How many followers or likes they have means nothing if they have no intention to get out in the world, work hard, carve out their path, never give up on a dream and know, right from the start, NOTHING is free and NOTHING worth doing well, is easy. There’s no real “overnight successes”….even those that seem like they are, were a thought, or a plan, or a carefully plotted journey over many years which led to eventual success. Instant gratification is irrelevant in the real world.
So, as I think about “where the time went”, I remember clearly the frustrations and the struggles of some of those years; but I also remember so many good things. And while I wish I could say I wasn’t wishing SOME of that time away, I did. But, that said, I’m not going to beat myself up about it, and nor should you if you are. I struggled. I was unhappy and unbalanced. I had Post Partum Depression. I was not the best mom or wife I could be back then, and I am SO much better now. Because of those struggles? I would say yes, so I’m grateful for them, and getting through them. So….while the days went by and are still sometimes going by, ever so slowly, friends, these years are on the fast track. I want to make sure I take a moment, randomly or intentionally, as often as I can, to just look at the people my babies are growing into. See their transformation inside and out, recognize who they are becoming, what they are passionate about, be grateful for it, and create a supportive, loving and Christ filled life for them.
While we all have lives to live, important jobs to do, and homes to create for our families…..in addition to that, we cannot let these years completely slip away in the busy-ness of crazy schedules that seem to be so important, yet they consist of sports, work, drama, dance, cheer, gymnastics, and anything else imaginable. While we get excited for their trophy’s, medals, and recitals, let’s be excited for the people WE are building, by cherishing the children they will be today….because it’s only once, time has no intention of turning back, and the years will continue to fly by.
So while we all celebrate another year completed at school and enjoy the footloose and fancy free days of summer, hopefully going by slowly, because this year will undoubtedly blaze by too. Now excuse me as I go and watch my babies, I mean big kids, sleep for a few minutes before I turn off the hall light.