What I will remember as I hold this precious newborn is that one day I will sleep again. The exhaustion that plagues me now will someday cease, and I will no longer feel like I’m living in a fog. I will soon get to know this child and will learn how to soothe her and how to make her laugh. I will wait patiently for that first smile that will make my heart soar in a way I’ve never known. I will find peace and connection in the quiet of the night as I rock her back to sleep. I will live joyfully in this moment of parenting because all too soon it will pass.
What I will remember as I walk hand in hand with this precious toddler is that the purpose of his whole being is to move slowly and notice the details that I no longer see. He is inherently driven to pick up every rock and notice every leaf, to hear every airplane and to marvel at every truck. I will learn to love the world as it looks through his eyes rather than rushing him to move through mine. I will bask in the wonder and awe that is his life. I will remember that testing limits, climbing onto every surface, and refusing to eat all but 3 things is simply part of who he is today. I will celebrate where he is now, and I will chase him when he runs away (again). I will live joyfully in this moment of parenting because all too soon it will pass.
What I will remember as I watch this precious three year old girl assert her independence is that it is so important that I back away. I will let her do what she needs to do rather than inflict my own preferences upon her. I will acknowledge that opportunities for independence are critical for the development of positive self-esteem and resilience. I will embrace the emotional ups and downs that accompany this age, and I will have compassion for them, because it must be so much harder for her than it is for me. I will delight in her daily questions (all 752 of them). I will sear into my memory the way her voice sounds, and how sweet she looks with a bow in her hair. I will live joyfully in this moment of parenting because all too soon it will pass.
What I will remember as I send this precious child off to school is that so much joy is ahead of him. The opportunities to make new friends, to help others, to learn about the world, to struggle, and to advocate for himself will make him who he is destined to be. I will respect and support his teachers, and I will work in partnership with them so that he may have the most successful experience. I will embrace the opportunities to teach him about responsibility; I will refrain from doing everything for him. I will connect to as many moments that I can, since so many things will happen while he is away from me, and I won’t be there to see it. I will live joyfully in this moment of parenting because all too soon it will pass.
What I will remember as I sit beside my precious teenager is that this is the most important thing I could be doing. I will remember that life is hard for an adolescent. There is so much that she has to keep up with, has to navigate, has to avoid. I will pray daily for the strength of her convictions, for her to make the right choices, and for her to realize she is not invincible. I will commit daily to lifting her up and affirming all that she is. I will be proud of her even in the moments that are wrought with challenges. I will be there: to listen, to talk, and to rescue. I will refuse to pass judgement. I will live joyfully in this moment of parenting because all too soon it will pass.
What I will remember as I watch my precious child leave for college is that I never knew my heart could be pulled in opposite directions in one colliding moment. Pride and an unbelievable sense of missing him descend on me as I watch him take this next exciting step in his life. I will let him go, but I will stay connected always reminding him of where he has come from as he looks forward to determine where he will go. I will relish the phone calls and the visits home, dirty laundry and all. I will continue to pray for him daily that he may have wisdom and determination, and I will pray for his safety. I will hope that the world will be kind to him as I watch him make it a better place. I will live joyfully in this moment of parenting because all too soon it will pass.
What I will remember as I watch my precious child raise her children is how quickly these days pass. I will tell her every day that she is a great mom for I know the weariness of those days and the lack of recognition. I will be understanding when phone calls end abruptly because someone needs her for something. I will not begrudge her for scheduling visits and events around nap time and bedtime. I will remember that she is doing exactly what she thinks is best for her children, and I will honor her decisions. I will show up with cookies, with dinner, with some extra money for that new pair of shoes her own child needs. I will be her biggest fan just like I always have. I will live joyfully in this moment of parenting because all too soon….it has passed.
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