“Enjoy this time, it will fly by quickly.”
“Don’t be too quick to rush it, it goes by fast.”
“Oh, I remember those days. They were awesome. I miss them so much.”
How many times, as a mom, have these well-meaning sentiments been tossed in your direction? How many times have you been out in a store and a stranger has stopped at your cart, placed a hand on your shoulder and smiled or chuckled as they said these words? How many times have you just wanted to slap them silly for saying those words?
Your four year old, (whom you are absolutely convinced in this moment in time is a tad bit demon possessed), is thrashing away in the back of the shopping cart, turning various shades of red and purple. (After all, it’s a good day, you managed to move the thrashing from the middle of the aisle floor to the cart without pulling a muscle.) He’s yelling as loud as he can his displeasure because you had the audacity to tell him he could not have the highly overpriced (and, in your opinion, utterly stupid) toy he wanted.
Meanwhile, your first grader is running away from you, yet again, because something caught his eye. Why, for the love of ever loving Pete, can’t he just stay put? You reach out and grab the back of his collar, effectively choking him and smile through gritting your teeth at the well-meaning lady who’s telling you to cherish this moment.
Cherish this moment? Who, in their right mind, would ever cherish and miss this? Not me. Nope.
Fast forward seven years.
I was in Walmart the other day, and I saw a mother bent over her toddler, who was sitting in the back of the shopping cart. The kid was a blubbering mess, “But, I wwwwwaaaannnnntttttt it!”
“No, not today, just shhh, please stop it. Right. Now.” I could hear her push those words out through gritted teeth. She was clearly near the edge of no return.
She caught my eye as I passed by, embarrassed. I smiled and said, “Boy, I remember that age. I miss it.” Then, I reached out and patted her shoulder as I passed her by.
Oh. My. Gosh. I am totally that person! Here’s the thing, though. I get it now.
When we are in the midst of our current season of life, it can really be hard to cherish the blessings of that moment because we are too busy being distracted by the craziness that surrounds it.
However, if you are that mom, the one standing over your toddler in desperation, trying to find something to cherish about a tantrum, I want to share with you five reasons why you need to take a deep breath and just relax.
I am telling you this as a mom both as one who has been in your shoes and as one who is desperately trying to embrace and cherish her current season. A season that includes a strong willed, highly independent tween and a 14 ½ year old caught in between the upside down world of growing up, hormones, stuffed animals and Legos…and not always in that order.
Anyhow, I digress. I am taking a deep breath. Okay, five reasons, my friend, to embrace your current season:
(1) It only comes once, as in one time and one time only. I am not talking about holding on and embracing changing diapers full of Lord only knows what…or telling your doctor what color that mess is. (I am ever so grateful I am not doing that now!) I am talking about those moments when your infant is completely dependent on you just to be. They need you to get them through it, mama. They depend on you for food, comfort and love. They can’t do it on their own. Let’s face it, we need to feel needed and loved. We were designed to be loved and give it. I believe God designed every season of development for a reason, even infancy. It’s when our bonds begin to form with our children. So, in the middle of the night, when you are dog tired and your baby decides to scream and poop, well, embrace it. Embrace him. Love him.
(2) Your child has been called to serve a higher purpose. God is clear in His Word that He has a purpose for each and every one of us, even before we were born. A purpose whose end game will be bringing people to Him and showing them He is a God who is the one true God, a God who loves them and adores them. That’s a crazy and lofty thought, isn’t it? A tall order for someone to have. Especially for that screaming toddler in your cart. Can you even fathom that the kid with red eyes, screaming like a banshee, with snot running down his nose and into his mouth, has been called to a higher purpose by and for the Creator of the Universe? But, he has. Choose in that moment, to love him through his tantrums, rather than lose your cool. It’s tough, I know. I failed many times when visiting Toddler Crazy Ville to keep my cool. No worries, because your kid will give you ample opportunities to visit Toddler Crazy Ville. You can love and embrace him through all the visits and still have enough left over for your visits to Tween Town, USA a few years down the road.
(3) Remind yourself that God gave your child to you. No one else. Let’s think about that for a moment. If the thought that, that snot nosed, screaming toddler is called to a higher purpose, is hard for you to imagine, well then, thinking that you are the one tasked to raise a child who has this calling is both overwhelming and daunting. However, we too, are called to that exact same calling. Part of serving that calling includes raising our children. God chose us to raise our children. He didn’t choose Sally and Mike down the street, because Sally and Mike aren’t equipped to do the job. They have enough on their hands with their own 2.5 snotty nosed kiddos. He uniquely made our kids and gave them to us to raise for Him. As such, he instilled in us, and only us, the ability to do so. That, my friend, is something to truly embrace. He planted the love and knowledge we need to raise our kids within us. He really did. We just have to remember not to be too stubborn to ask for His help to do so. He even gave us an instruction manual in the form of His Word. Again, I have failed at this often. Every. Single. Day. I mess up. I yell. I cry. I scream, “I just can’t! I’m done.” But, when I give in and ask Him for help, well, He reminds me that I can do it. That I can embrace the teen whose eye rolls now rival my own, the one that used to be my sweet boy, (only five minutes ago was he hugging me for no reason!) in front of me.
(4) Time really does fly by. It really does. It flies by in a heartbeat, mama. A. Heart. Beat. I am writing this on the eve of my son’s 8th grade dessert reception with parents and teachers. Three weeks before his 8th grade graduation. Nine years after his pre-school graduation. Two weeks after his high school orientation. Four short years before his high school graduation. Ten short, potential years before his wedding. It. Flies. By. So, yes, I am telling you to embrace every single season you have with your child. Even the poop filled, snot nosed, tantrum ones. Even the rolling their eyes, smart aleck, you just want to smack them, seasons.
(5) It’s worth it. Embrace every season. Fill them with memories. Teach them Whose they are. For if you do, then you can be assured that your children will do the same with their kids, your (gasp!) grandbabies. Not only that, they’ll be excited to include you in the seasons of their lives that come after the seasons you have been tending to are over. That will be a wonderful thing.
And remember, even in the midst of poop, snot, and eye rolls, He’s got your back.