I remember the moment so clearly. I was a mom of three small boys ages 4, 3, and 1. It was a beautiful spring day so the boys and I packed up the stroller to walk down to our park. As the older boys ran and jumped and played, I pushed my giggling little guy on the baby swings. Not meaning to eavesdrop, but being too close to avoid hearing, I listened in on a conversation between two moms.
While the one mom pushed her daughter in a nearby swing, her friend, frocked in a baby carrier that held a baby 3-4 months of age, lamented about being a mom. I listened as the two conversed about the challenges and sacrifices of being a mom. The inconvenience. The trouble. The bother.
It’s been 14 years since I was privy to that conversation, and while I fail to recall all of its details, I remember, verbatim, the final sentence the two shared as they walked away: “I can’t wait. I only have 6 more weeks until I get this kid into daycare and get my life back.”
I remember feeling such a sense of sadness for that young woman. I suppose the long days and sleepless nights had taken their toll. Less time at the gym, pulled back ponytails, heels pushed to the back of the closet, and showerless days likely left her longing for the life before. I remember seeing her little baby and wanting so badly to tell her, “You’re not an inconvenience.”
Lord willing, that woman’s little baby is now around 14 years old. I am thinking of them this Mother’s Day weekend. I’m wondering if that mom ever embraced being mom and wondering if that child feels like an inconvenience today. I hope not. I pray that parenthood has changed that young mom.
Oh, how I wish that the older me could have been at the park that day. How I wish the older me, now with years of parenting under my belt and an 18 year old stepping into adulthood, could have been there to look that mom in the face and say, “Enjoy these moments. Embrace parenthood. Love the time with your children for it will fly by quicker than you realize.”
And how true the old cliche is: “Time flies.”
It’s a big year for my oldest and a big year for me as a mom. My son turned 18 just a few weeks ago; he’ll graduate high school in a few short weeks, and then will begin his college studies. It’s all kind of surreal for me. As he transitions, so must I.
The other day I was flipping through my oldest son’s scrapbook collecting photos for a graduation slide show. Everyone was out and there I sat, on his bed, crying as I flipped each page. They were tears of joy mingled with a bit of sadness. Tears of awe. Tears of thankfulness. Tears of gratitude to the Lord for the life he has given me, for the children He has gifted me with, for the time He has permitted. The time has gone by so fast. And now I am left trying to adjust my vision, adjusting it to see men, not boys.
Maybe you are that mom today, the one who is overwhelmed, tired, and feeling a bit of a loss of self. Your days of Cheerios, dirty diapers, and sleep deprivation are difficult. You wonder if this thing called motherhood is worth is. Today let me be that somewhat older woman who tells you, yes, it is so worth it! Let me be the one to tell you that this season in life is full of challenges but it is such an important time. Let me say that parenting is hard but the calling is great. Let me remind you that the time will be a blur and in a few years, like me, you will be wondering where it went. Embrace the time.