Too soon

There can be torturous times, dark days and desperate moments. As parents, it feels at times, as if every element of our being is being demanded of and sucked dry. Whether it’s all the fetching and carrying to school and play dates, tying shoelaces, piggybacking or picking up, reading stories, doing homework, sharing sorrows, taking temperatures, fetching from late night parties, arguing over cell phones, curfews and boyfriends …. it can be exhausting. But these years… these times… are short lived and it’s worthwhile remembering that there’s a last time for everything.

This past weekend, Christian celebrated his fifth birthday…. a blur, a blink, a gallop. Where have the years flown? Hard Years, but precious years, filled with moments I will never get back. Moments of reflux and pacing with an unsettled new born, moments of awe, watching a baby sleeping on my chest, first smiles, first steps, first words, moments of tantrums, moments of grumpiness and tears, whining and fighting, the first day of school, moments of holding hands and moments of recognition that hands no longer need or want to be held. Moments of realization that I will never again get back these at times long and gruelling days that are filled with precious moments of connection and the privilege of being a parent.

A few weeks ago, my Friday night did not quite turn out how I envisioned- good rest, early wake up and off to the farmers market for fresh veg first thing on Saturday morning…. that was my plan until about 10pm when “life-with-kids” happened and Rachel began vomiting…. and vomiting…. and vomiting….. the night was going to be long… I put some cushions down on the floor next to her bed to try and secure a few minutes of sleep in between all the frantic bathroom dashes, but on the whole, it was a rough night for both of us. On one of the countless trips back from a ‘toilet-bowl-lean-over’, as I was carrying my little girl back to her bed, draped in my arms, I was reminded of the tremendous honour it is to be a parent, and to be able to be there during the darkest times for our children. Too soon Rachel won’t need me to carry her, too soon she won’t want to be picked up at impossibly difficult times, too soon she won’t need help brushing her teeth or her hair. Just like that, too soon, and without me knowing when the last time will be, it will never happen again.

Too soon so many of the little things that might take up most of my time, things that may at times frustrate me, or exhaust me, like hauling my sleepy body out of bed at night to answer calls to retrieve the teddy that has been kicked out of bed, help to build the LEGO set when I’m frantically trying to accomplish another task, school runs that take hours out of days… a blur, a blink, a gallop….. All too soon our children won’t need to be tucked in at night, won’t need to be walked into school, won’t need us to drive them around. Those late nights of doing last minute projects, helping with studying, hours of listening to heartbreaks and struggles, fighting over remotes, spending weekends in the blazing sun watching sports matches…. all these will soon be over. For many of these moments, we may have no warning, we will just wake up one day and won’t be needed anymore. We will realize that we have held a hand for the last time, washed a face for the last time, blown a snotty nose and sat helping with homework for the last time.

So while you are living the hard parenting moments and feel stuck in the cycle of seemingly endless, mundane parenting responsibilities, remember that there is a last time for everything. Treasure every moment- whether it’s all night vomit sessions, shared tears, cuddles or hysterical laughter, feel privileged to be a part of all the little ways you are still needed, because just like that, it could be the last time, and when our children no longer need us, our hearts will long for just that one more moment, just one last time. Take all these parenting moments- the incredible, the horrible, the nerve-wracking, the joyful, the hilarious, the frenzied, the heart breaking and the heart-warming- and cherish each one- because in a blink, a blur, and a gallop they will all be over… too soon.


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