Growth Spurts: A Decade and a Decision
My firstborn just turned 10. “I can’t believe it” is my normal reaction to her birthday. As all parents told me it would,
the time has truly flown by. Wasn’t it “just yesterday” that I was rocking her, spoon-feeding her liquefied butternut squash, and cheering her on in her endeavors to crawl? Now she’s riding a bike, baking her own food, and easily surpassing me in the number of books she reads each month. She’s becoming a young lady.
All the time, I hear parents sigh, poke out their bottom lip, and ask, “Why can’t they just stay little forever?” Admittedly, I’ve joined in on that pity party myself. I’ve said more than once that I would like to have frozen my children at ages 3, 5, and 7. Everyone could communicate; everyone enjoyed playing together; and most importantly, everyone was potty trained. But what I keep discovering is that there are wonderful things about every stage of childhood. Each stage is different, for sure, and each stage brings a whole new set of challenges. But what a miraculous thing to get to observe and be a part of! As parents, we are privileged to participate in the shaping and molding of entire human beings. Whoa. And yikes!
I’m not saying that I won’t ever think longingly of days gone by; I just don’t want to miss all the wonderfulness of the current stages of my children’s growing up process. And I want to look forward with anticipation to the stages yet to come. After all, that’s what they’re doing! I’m not so old that I have forgotten how exciting it was for me as I was growing up. I looked forward to all the things to come. (Confession: For a little while, I kept a journal of all the things my older sister got to do and at what ages she got to do them, so that I could hold my parents accountable–or something–and keep things “fair.” Sheesh.) It would serve me well to remember these things (with the exception of the record-keeping) when it comes to my own children. It’s fun and exciting to grow up!
So I figure I have a choice. I can mourn the past and long for the days when my babies were still babies, or I can enjoy watching the growing-up process and be thankful for the wonderful memories we are creating all along the way. Since we can never bring back the past, I think the latter is the better choice, don’t you?