“Mom, Lincoln said he wants to go on a date with you!”
I turned and looked at my 5 (almost 6) year old son and a bashful little smile spread across his face.
“You want to go on a date with mom huh? Let’s do it buddy!”
He then ran up and gave me a huge hug.
(Okay pause here for just one second. How stinkin’ cute is it that my two boys were having a giddy little conversation about taking their mom on a date? Oh my mama heart just about burst! Sorry I had to brag for just a second.)
I love getting to spend one on one time with each of my boys. It is such a rare opportunity and I love getting to see them light up as they know they have my complete attention. But what was even more special about this particular date was that he requested it. He wanted some time with me.
I was talking with a girl friend the other day about different stages of parenting. And it got me thinking about different stages of life in general. Then I had a realization. I hate that we don’t appreciate a stage until after it has passed. We don’t know how much we will miss something because we are so constantly focused on what is coming next.
“If only I could graduate high school already!”
“I can’t wait until I leave this town and get to college on my own.”
“Once college is over I can just start my career.”
“I can’t wait to get married!”
“I can’t wait until we have kids!”
“I can’t wait until I can sleep through the night again!”
“Oh how I look forward to the days of no diapers and kids feeding themselves!”
As each stage comes we may meet it with the excitement that we anticipated, but it is short lived and quickly overcome by the desire to get to the next stage. We get weighed down by the new challenges it brings and those soon outweigh the joys that we “couldn’t wait” for.
A simple little date with my son and a sweet conversation from a friend pulled me back to reality this last week, opened my eyes to the fact that I am living my best life right now! I am in the days I am going to miss the most. The days when my boys show me love daily with big bear hugs and sloppy, snotty kisses. Yes, those I will miss. The days when they want to hang out with me, go on dates with me and want all my attention. The days when Daddy is their hero and they can’t wait for him to open that door after work. These are the days I want to remember.
Now if I am honest, I would have to say some of the next parenting stages might scare me a little bit. I mean, middle school, girls, body odor, pushing boundaries, girls, independence, not liking mom and dad, being “too cool”, girls, hormones, driving, late nights, worrying, and did I mention girls?
I am TERRIFIED of some of these stages I know we are going to face so maybe right now I am not so eager to move on. But even with those fears of the next stages I also know there are going to be some great adventures to come and I can’t wait for those. I can’t wait for road trips to sporting events, loud obnoxious sleepovers, awkward stages, family trips, and date nights with their Daddy when we can leave them home alone! I can’t wait to watch my boys achieve dreams and goals and become young men that we are proud of raising and ready to set free. (I might never actually be ready for that whole setting them free thing, but that is the goal so I am just going to say it now and pretend that I wont delete that later when they try to hold me to it!)
Life is hard to soak in isn’t it? Especially parenting. It is a constant struggle of holding on and letting go. I just don’t know how to make sure I am making the most of the time that I have with them and making sure I wont look back and regret not taking advantage of the days I am going to miss. I LOVE where we are now, I love the reminder my middle son gave me this week. And maybe that is the answer, maybe that is all I can do. Keep those reminders constant and choose to focus on them rather than the challenges of this stage. Choosing to focus on why I was looking forward to being where I am now. Simply put, I just need to live in the NOW. I can’t worry about what was or what will be.
As much as I want to freeze time here where we currently are, I know those other adventures and “can’t waits” will come whether I want them to or not. So until then I can only attempt to focus on the now, on the days I will miss, on my best life!
Live in your best life, that time is NOW.