The past two weeks with our daughter having moved out and our oldest son, Sam, in Brazil for a month has made me realize something, they’re growing up. We are quickly entering another phase of life when our children leave the house. Not that Sam will be moving out soon, but when he comes home he will be different. He will have grown up some on this trip and will soon after be getting is license and started classes at CPCC in the fall. He’s not going to be the same kid we have had for the last 16 years. And college and moving out are not far away. And his younger brothers are right behind.
It all hit me the other day when I was changing the sheets on his bed and missing him like crazy. It’s all changing very quickly and I’m just not ready for it. When you have babies and toddlers still in the house you think your kids will live with you forever, but it’s just not the case. It all happens so quickly, one day they are in diapers and you think it will never end and then the next they are leaving for a foreign country for a month and registering to take the ACT.
As I inch closer to 40 this year I realize how quickly time goes and it really makes me contemplate how I spend my time. I’ve been thinking about how to slow down more and spend time on the stuff that really matters. These 18 or so years I have with each kid, did I do what I set out to do with them? Did I make lifelong memories that were good and did I teach them everything I wanted to for them to be successful adults? I’m learning that looks different for each child but it all takes time. Time is the only thing I cannot add to or take away. We all have 24 hours each day. How do we spend that time? If we say yes to one thing, we are saying no to something else and vice versa. When you are bogged down in raising kids it’s hard to see that. Everyday feels the same and like it will never end sometimes. Endless laundry and diapers and soccer practices. But within a blink it’s all over and your kid is headed out the door to adulthood. This really started to hit me when Sam hit high school but now that he is halfway through it is even more real. We went to Disney this summer and to Miami. It was the best trip we have ever had. We all really enjoyed it but we almost didn’t go. Our daughter was just starting to really struggle right before we left and we had an 8 month old. It seemed like a bad time, but we pushed through and I’m so glad we did. It’s not just about going on big trips and things, but also the day to day. Having a family with lots of needs makes me want to just stay in the house all the time, it’s just easier. But if we want to make memories with our older kids we can’t do that, we just have to push through.
I want to make each minute count, but that means making margin in my life for those special moments. I can’t be running around crazy all the time and expect to have time to stop and just take a special moment with my kids. I have to allow down time for unexpected moments. I don’t want to fill up every minute even if it’s with “good” things. There are many good things, but I have to pick and choose. Sometimes I have to say no to a good thing in favor of a movie night at home with the kids. Or a walk around the block or a meaningful talk. Those are the best things!