I spoke with my mother-in-law the other day. I was telling her how hard this tween stage could be at times. She gave a gentle smile and said, “At least you know where he is. What you’re in now, it may seem hard, but you’re in the easy part. When they leave, that’s hard.” She raised 4 wonderful people, and 3 of them now live in a different state than she does. She rarely sees her children. Her days are spent in a quiet, neat home with nothing but time on her hands, and she misses her children every single day. Children are noisy, but silence is deafening.
All stages of parenthood come with their challenges, but they all come with sweet blessings as well. It’s what we choose to focus on that will determine how much we enjoy each stage. I, too, am often guilty of wishing for a future time – a time when they remember to actually put their clothes in the hamper or a time when there is no bedtime fuss (will that ever happen?!) but if I allow myself to get caught up in seeing the troubles, I’ll miss the treasures. I’ve done that before, and I don’t want it to happen again.
Maybe today you’re in a place where you’re seeing lots of troubles. Maybe you’re exhausted and desperately need a break. Maybe your child is being very difficult and you don’t know how to connect with her. Maybe you’re wishing you could just sleep well again or have one day without a tantrum or tugging or worrying about your teen. I understand how you’re feeling, and you need encouragement. We all do. Here’s what you’ll miss about the stage you’re currently in. These are the treasures you may need help seeing today.
Oh, the sweet stage of infancy. It goes by so quickly, but I know if you’re in the thick of it, it seems to drag on forever. It’s exhausting, yes, but you’ll miss it. You’ll miss the way she fits so perfectly in your arms. You’ll miss rocking him to sleep and being able to hold him as long as you want while staring into his beautiful, sweet face. You’ll miss the baby smell and nuzzling of a fuzzy head in your neck. You’ll miss the heart-melting toothless smiles and the utter joy of baby giggles.
Bundles of whirling mischief and fun, toddlers sure can be hard to keep up with, but they are delightful, humorous, and full of wonder. You’ll miss the sweet sound of that baby voice. You’ll miss the way he looks at you and touches your face. You’ll miss her arms around your neck and the spontaneous displays of toddler affection. You’ll miss that baby face that is changing so quickly into a big boy or girl. You’ll miss a tiny hand in yours. You’ll miss how perfectly he fits in your lap when you read to him.
Bright, witty, and full of energy, preschoolers keep you on your toes. Full of sass and a will of steel, there’s a reason they’ve been termed “threenages and fournados” but trust me, mama and papa, you’ll miss it. You’ll miss the childlike wonder that still twinkles in their eyes. You’ll miss the middle of the night visits to your bed even if they seem annoying right now. When they stop, it aches. You’ll miss their hilarity, because preschoolers are funny, wonderful little people. You’ll miss the naps! You’ll miss being able to pick her up and carry her on your hip. That won’t last much longer. You’ll miss the babyish features that are just about to be gone forever.
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