The old adage is that it flies by and to seize every moment, every opportunity. Be quick to forgive. Love people because you never know how long they will be gracing your life. Try to learn something from everyone you meet- whether it is a good lesson or a bad one.
This weekend I was lucky enough to go on an annual camping trip with my family. Including myself there were 29 people with six kids four and under. There were three generations in the house and we got to celebrate my grandfather’s birthday.
I use the term camping loosely in this situation because what started as a camping trip 8 years ago has morphed into us staying at my aunt and uncle’s amazingly gorgeous house that has air-conditioning, a room for my husband, son and I to sleep in, and has enough acreage to host a garden that gives us fruits and vegetables for the weekend, with room left over for my brothers and cousins to set up tents and actually camp. The kids had a pool to swim in and lawn games. We had stacks of boards games and there were a steady rotation several times a day of food and snacks so we could spend the day doing what we want and just have fun.
After playing Jenga on Saturday with my cousin, brother, and sister-in-law my husband and I ventured off for an hour before dinner would be served. My aunt’s house is only a five minute drive to my alma mater, so I took the opportunity to introduce my son to my college campus.
As I held his little hand and walked the deserted campus, I let myself reminisce. Going to college was no easy task for me. I was a homebody and wanted to stay with my mom. But mom encouraged me to go for at least a semester to see how I really felt. After my first semester I found out that, for me, college wasn’t just about the things I would learn but also the people I would find as friends that once college was over would transition to best friends for life.
My college best friends Kelly, Laura, Moe and Kristen were there for me through the heartbreaks and failed tests. They celebrated anything we could celebrate. They got me through when there were days I wanted to just leave.
Even with an incredible support system, I still wasn’t happy. I prayed every day. All day, every day. I prayed for the days to fly by. I prayed for the days to slow down. I prayed that I would find the perfect job. I prayed that I have clarity to decide what exactly the perfect job is for me. I prayed for strength to get me through; just one more day. Then that one more day turned to one week.
Before I knew it I was walking across the stage, accepting my BA in Sociology with a minor in professional writing and falling one credit short of having a minor in Spanish as well.
I had the degree. It was in my hand and I could not believe it. The days of sobbing and uncertainties, the impromptu road trip back home in the middle of the night, the days of feeling so much stress I didn’t think I would make it out alive. I did though. I somehow did it!
As my walk with my son ended, and my memories still had their dreamlike cloud hanging over me, I made a startling realization. I am doing to parenting what I did to college. I wake up every day thinking one down a million more to go. When my son first sat up I couldn’t want for him to stand. When he stood I couldn’t wait for him to walk. I didn’t take time to appreciate all of the little things he was doing every day.
I don’t want to be one of those parents who are just trying to get through the day every day. We are struggling with bedtime where it takes up to three hours some nights to get him to go to bed. I get frustrated but then I feel bad. In the grand scheme of things, how big of a difference will those three hours make when they were spent singing songs with my son, holding hands, giving butterfly kisses, but one day – and I will never know when- my son will tell me he is fine and doesn’t need me for bedtime. Bam. In the blink of an eye his childhood will be over.
What I want to say to you, my lovely readers, they say time flies and it does. I see it flying every day and now I’m starting to realize it is going quickly so I better take the extra long bedtimes and use them in any way to build memories, and as a way to get in extra snuggles before he reaches a stage where he won’t need me.
The present demands your attention, the future is there so you can wonder and prepare. I am done taking everything for granted. I am done praying, pleading, and begging for a chapter of my life to end because this chapter is wonderful. I will enjoy my two year old and his crazy sleep schedule. I will enjoy family camping with my grandparents, my son’s great grandparents, and try to push off to the back of my mind that two people who are so engrained into who I am won’t be here forever so I won’t let myself or child waste any opportunity with them.
Time is fleeting. Don’t put things off. That thing that you are wishing and willing to go away will someday be gone, and you might realize maybe it wasn’t as bad as you always thought it was.