they’re growing up way too fast
February 23, 2022 |
Sometimes I take a snapshot photo with my mind in an effort to freeze a moment into memory, usually for something I never want to end.
I did that a lot this past week, partly because my kids asked me to stop taking so many real photos (!!) but mostly because I wanted to remember every second of our family time together.
We spent a week touring colleges, and while that might sound boring or stress-inducing to some, it was so. much. fun.
We had fun in the spaces of it all. The time spent driving between campuses blasting music, the time spent in hotels or motels that housed our exhausted bodies, and time spent absorbing the newness of everything.
But on top of all that fun was my mild feeling of sadness. I had to keep reminding myself that it’s possible to hold two conflicting emotions at the very same time.
On the one hand, I want so badly for my twin teenage girls to fly freely into this great big world…to study hard, learn a lot, meet interesting people, and (of course) play.
But at the very same time, I never want to let them go.
When they were born two minutes apart 17 years ago, I guess I must have taken one of those snapshot photos with my mind because I have a vivid memory walking on the 7th floor at Cornell Presbyterian Hospital pushing one bassinet with two little bodies. They were swaddled separately but smushed so adorably together.
I remember a nurse walking up to me and saying this:
“The days are long but the years are short.”
At first, I admit I thought it was just another clichéd expression so I nodded, smiled, and moved on. The world throws out so much advice, especially to new mothers desperate to navigate a time equivalent to no other in life. Whatever mattered before that moment of birth matters much less since the primary goal is now keeping a human alive.
Fast forward 17 years and those mixed emotions I’m currently experiencing called that nurse’s phrase to the surface once again.
Sometimes the days were very long. But the minutes and the seconds within those days made up the most important stuff of my life.
And the years?
Indeed they are so short!
But here’s the thing.
The years continue on even when our kids “fly off.” So do we ever really let them go?
Parenting is a loooong journey. My own parents will attest to their expressed worry about my 50-year-old self taking on mountains in the most random corners of the world.
It never really ends.
Our role in our kids’ lives may change as chapters turn, but our values will continue to inform their choices.
Our presence in their every day activities may change, but our love for them continues to deepen.
So try to remember that wise and meaningful cliché no matter how old your child is, whether they are 5 months or 50 years old.
Remembering it might help you let go of the small stuff each day, because those years?
They are way too short.
With fierce love,