When my kids were young people would often look at me juggling two little ones and say…

“Wow you really have your hands full” or “Enjoy it, they really grow up fast!”

All it did was make me want to scream! 

After all, I was doing my best and I truly did feel like I was enjoying them as much as our busy lives would allow!!!!

Now, as a mom of two teens and a daughter of aging parents and in-laws, I often think about how quickly the time really does pass and how short life really is…

I often think about their childhood years with both happiness and longing as I ask myself…

Do I remember their lasts?

As parents, we record and remember our children’s firsts, but do we remember their lasts?

Do I remember the last time I filled a sippy cup of juice?

Do I remember the last time I pushed my daughter on the swing before she learned to “pump” and insisted on doing it herself?

Do I remember the last time I carried them when they were still small enough to pick up without breaking my back?…..

Do I remember the last Christmas they believed in Santa or the last envelope of money I slipped under their pillow in exchange for a lost tooth…  before they no longer believed…..?

Although I truly feel I embraced the challenges as well of the joys of each stage of their development, sometimes I miss “the magic” of those younger years…

Well known psychologist Jean Piaget calls this magical stage his Preoperational stage.  

 —when children 2 years and up develop the mental ability to think symbolically as they express themselves through writing/drawing, pretend play, and magical thought processes!

As parents, you never know when this magic will be abruptly taken away…

I remember the night as if it were yesterday!  My son, 9 at the time, announced at dinner that we don’t need to make him an Easter basket that year because he no longer believed in the Easter Bunny!  And the Tooth Fairy was ridiculous too…  Then he asked us if we were Santa… following it up with his analysis -come on mom and dad- a fat man in a red suit flies around with flying reindeer and delivers millions of gifts in one night?!!

Gulp…  I froze and fessed up.  Now they tell me I should have lied because they still wanted to believe…  Go figure….  Wrong mom decision!

So now our days are filled with a 24/7 trivia game of Did You Know? as they pull up the latest app on their smart phones… 

And we really are enjoying watching them develop into amazing young adults…

And although I once vowed to never say to a mom, “Enjoy it, they really grow up fast,” for fear of getting smacked…  I will say this…

Sometimes I wish I had just let the dishes go till morning and took my time with their precious bedtime routine…

Sometimes I wish I had not stressed as I diligently wrapped gifts from both Santa and mom and dad till 2 am using different paper and labels for fear of them figuring it out…

 And, sometimes I wish I had not hoped that tooth would wait another day to fall out because I was too tired to wait up until they were sound enough asleep to “make the swap…”

…and I had just taken a deep breath and enjoyed the moment…

…Because children bring so much joy to our lives and because being a parent is both a blessing and a miracle…  I hope all parents will embrace both the joys and challenges of each stage, take a deep breath once in awhile, and truly enjoy the journey! 

Happy parenting.

–Angela

*Angela is a former teacher and social worker and president/founder of Bear Hugs and Butterfly Kisses.  On her site (www.bhbktoys.com) she shares inspirational information on child development, tips and ideas and recommendations for developmentally appropriate toys and learning materials. 

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