We just returned from a week long family vacation in San Clemente, CA. Admittedly, before we embarked on our adventure, I had a few reservations. Namely, how would we all get along for an entire week together. Would we survive that much quality time? The answer is a resounding, 'Yes.' We had a great time. The kids behaved. The adults behaved. In general, our spring break trip was a good one filled with lots of memories to treasure for years to come.
As I had time to reflect this past week, I thought a lot about how the kids have changed over the years. I remember when they were little tykes, the days seemed to stretch out endlessly before us. Back then when they were three and one, I thought we would never survive. So much work goes into being the parent of two young ones.
But now, standing on the cusp of one being a teenager and the other in double digits, it's hard to believe that, together, they have less than eight years before they are both out of the house. And if experience has taught me anything, that time will fly.
I remember when they were little, how many parents with older students who were getting ready to graduate would come up to us and remark on how fast the time flew for them. They always spoke in such a wistful way, as if they wished they could go back in time and cherish the moments more. I get it now. I understand the sighs behind those, "They grow up so fast."
My son when he was about three used to call oatmeal some cute version like 'Eat-eel.' When we corrected him and he started to pronounce it properly, there was a part of us that almost regretted teaching him the correct way. It was almost heartbreaking to know we'd lost that cute little voice asking us for his favorite breakfast, 'Eat-eel.'
My kids aren't ready to fly the coop just yet, but the lesson remains to cherish these days. I don't want to take for granted the fact that I have living, breathing miracles walking around under my very roof, under my very own nose.
I can't go back in time, but I can drink in all that we have left. Maybe the lesson is that they don't grow up too fast but that it's easy to wish the days away a little too much. So, I'm not going to wish any more days away. Even when they turn into teenagers and stink and smell in more ways than one. Yes, they'll annoy me at times, there's no way around that. But, and here's the big one, they'll also bring a lot of joy and that's what I want to hang on to. The joy that comes from being a parent.
Psalm 127:3-5 The Message
Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift? the fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.