Maddy turned 11 this year. For whatever reason, this birthday has hit me harder than any other. Every year seems to pass with lightning speed! When the kids were young, as in, I had to get up in the middle of the night to assist in potty-breaks or feedings young, I would sit in my zombie like state and day dream about the days that they would be able to go to the bathroom on their own in the middle of the night. Or when they could feed themselves and my body would be mine again! Those glorious days seemed so far away.
Well those days are here. It has happened without me realizing it. How is that even possible? I know all parents have one thing in common. Someone, somewhere, has told you “Treasure each moment. They grow up so fast”. In the thick of the terrible two’s, kids teething, constantly cleaning up poop, and rarely being able to escape the house without some form of bodily fluid on my clothing, I couldn’t wait for the kids to grow up so things would be “easier”. I prayed those people who told me that the time flies by were on point!
Every age has a new challenge. Just because the kids had learned to pee by themselves, didn’t truly make life easier. A new phase of parenting has kicked in. There are new challenges to overcome like college applications, math homework and arguing over the importance of keeping their bedroom clean. That is a constant battle here in our house!
Here’s another kicker. No parenting book that I ever read, taught me how to deal with your child coming home after they have been picked on or treated unfairly. When kids are young, they bounce back. At two years old, if another child told one of my kids they didn’t want to share their toys or didn’t want to play with them, life moved on for them. They would run off and find something else to do and couldn’t have cared less.
The first time Maddy came home and told me another little girl had been mean to her in dance class, my instinct was clearly to fix it. However, I won’t always be there to do that. Maddy needed to learn how to deal with unkind people on her own. Parenting is tough. Especially if your goal is to raise human beings that can function on their own one day. This job is not for the weary!
No matter what the age, there will be challenges. My mom still worries about us even though we are all grown and out of the house. I am learning that parenting is never easy. The challenges you face are ever-changing. No matter what phase of it you are currently in, remember, it will pass quickly! It may be the toughest job we ever do, but it is also the best! When my kids look me smack dab in the face and tell me an un-prompted “I Love You”…every sleepless night, french fry covered car seat and spit-up crusted shirt will always be worth it. Sit back and enjoy it all!