There are two ways we can look at the different stages in our lives.
- We can say, this is a difficult time and I’m going to make the best of it because I know that what lies on the other side will be sweet sweet bliss.
- We can embrace every moment in every stage as the best moments we will ever live.
Right now in this early parenting stage with little ones up in the night, surviving on little to no sleep, trying to figure out how to get our kids to eat healthy, establish a bedtime routine, learn manners…it’s all new, every single thing! It would be easy to say to each other, we’ll get through this. Just ___ more months or years and it will be just me and you, sitting on the couch, enjoying free time to do whatever we want! But then I see us…sitting on the couch, night after night after night with endless amounts of free time, and I get bored just thinking about it! I know that when all of our children are grown, moved out of the house, and having children of their own, we will embrace our new role as parents to adult children and eventually as grandparents. There will be a peaceful sort of bliss as we watch our children venture on their own, make their own mistakes in life, come to us to share their joys and sorrows, and we will patiently listen and support them as they come into their own. But I also know that we will look back at these times with young children as some of the best times of our lives. The late sleepless nights and the worry about what to do with a crying baby, a screaming toddler, or a defiant child will melt away in the farthest recesses of our mind as we remember their chubby little cheeks and how they would look at us like we were the only thing that mattered in the whole world, how their eyes would light up with laughter and delight at the very indication of a tickle, and how their sweet smell would calm and comfort us as we snuggled close for a cuddle.
When we had two children and I was starting to think about going back to work, I felt like I had to “get through” these stages so that I could “get back” to my career, make more money, provide…provide what? After having our third little angel, and settling into this amazing life up north, I am finally accepting that these ARE the best days of our life… and I don’t just say it with a forced grin. I don’t talk about how I “get through” the boredom of being a stay at home mom because it’s “what’s best” for my children. I am finally EMBRACING every moment and it is SO liberating. I see every moment as the last chance I’ll get to experience THAT moment and I want to make the most out of it. There are lots of little things that I have done to get to this stage of ultimate bliss, but the most important thing I’ve done is let go. We still talk about the future and what it could look like, but I’m not waiting for it with baited breath. I am here. I am present. I am living every moment RIGHT NOW.
When Scott and are two old people cuddled up on the porch swing, tucked under a warm blanket while we watch the sun dip below the horizon, we will look back on our lives with nostalgia and joy and we WON’T regret that we worked too much, or that we were too busy trying to cram in too many activities, or that we were so worried about money that it got in the way of what’s really important. Us. People. Time. Family. Moments. We will know that we embraced it all, we lived each moment to it’s fullest, and we were happy every step of the way.