It’s often poignant watching my kids grow up.
I made a lot of mistakes with my first child, as parents often do. I was anxious, worried, struggling with my own demons, learning to grow up myself.
With my two middle girls, I learned to be calmer, set better priorities, love well.
With my son, my youngest, I have learned most of my parenting lessons and practice being mindful.
I’m always learning, and always amazed, thrilled, surprised.
My kids are wonderful people and I feel such joy and pride watching them interact with each other, me, their dad, and others.
We seldom know when it’s the last time as a parent.
- The last diaper change
- The last ride in a carseat
- The last time she lets me wash and comb her hair
- The last time he says, “Mom, look at me!”
- The last third grade math book
- The last dandelion given for no reason
- The last homeschool lesson
- The last driving lesson
- The last family vacation
I want my kids to be independent and successful.
Success looks different for each child.
The whole point is to prepare them for the world and gently push them away bit by bit, little birds flying from the nest.
I feel it’s important not to compare my kids to each other or to others, but to recognize that each of my children is a unique person with gifts, struggles, strengths, and room for improvement.
I feel poignant and bittersweet as my eldest is now 18. And my middle daughter just turned 13. My youngest daughter is turning 12. My son just turned 9.
I want to stop time.
The Last Time
From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
you will never be the same.
You might long for the person you were before,
When you have freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.
You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feedings and burping,
Nappy changes and crying,
Whining and fighting,
Naps or a lack of naps,
It might seem like a never-ending cycle.
But don’t forget …
There is a last time for everything.
There will come a time when you will feed your baby for the very last time.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.
One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.
They will hold your hand to cross the road,
Then never reach for it again.
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake to this.
One afternoon you will sing “the wheels on the bus”
and do all the actions,
Then never sing them that song again.
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face.
They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.
The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time
Until there are no more times.
And even then, it will take you a while to realize.
So while you are living in these times,
remember there are only so many of them
and when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of them.
For one last time.
Hold your children close, with open hands.
You might also like: