"Somehow 20 years isn't enough" – mum of teens reminds us to' soak in the younger years' 1 month ago

"Somehow 20 years isn't enough" – mum of teens reminds us to' soak in the younger years'

The other day I cried in the children's wear department of my local H&M.

I was shopping for clothes for my little girl, who is 10, and realised with a jolt that she is now in the last size of the 'younger kids' section. In a few more months, we will have to start shopping in what, to me, is the teenage section of the store, where the clothes are no longer cute in that 'little kids' kind of way, with rainbows and unicorns and those sequin images you can move up and down to change the pattern of.

Next time she needs new leggings or jumper or jeans, I realised, my selection will be from clothes that suddenly seem far too old, too grown-up, for my little girl, and in that moment, rushing around the shops trying to pick out some stuff before we headed off on our midterm break holiday, her whole childhood just seemed to flash before my eyes, and I couldn't help crying. It is all going so fast. Time is relentless in its speed when you have children, and much as we so desperately want to press pause, we can't. We just have to try out best to hang on, breathe, and soak it all in.

A couple of days after this clothes shopping incident I came across this beautiful text over at Love What Matters by Misty Brewer Lee, and much as it made me tear up, it also made me realise how much these universal truths are the same for all us mums. We all wish we had more time with our babies. We all worry about the same things. We all want to press that pause button. And we all, as our children grow older, want to remind each other to just stop and soak it all in. Because it goes by so much, much too quickly.

'When it’s time for them to go, it all hits you like a ton of bricks’

Here is Brewer Lee's beautiful text in full:

"When you first have children, we often talk about the challenges of parenting, the struggles of a baby waking in the night, the toddler who won’t stay in their bed, the cost of childcare, injuries from sports…

Having to take off work to pick them up from school when they don’t feel well, helping them with homework, a messy house, the never-ending laundry, the cost to buy school clothes, packing their lunches….

You watch their eyes light up on Christmas morning and try to soak in the magic of those moments.

You coach them in sports, rushing to practices and ballgames, and tote them all over the country to let them play the game they love, no matter how exhausting or expensive it becomes.

Life is just so busy that you rarely even stop to think what the end of those days looks like.

In fact, it’s not really even something you can wrap your mind around.

You go into it thinking that 18-20 years sounds like a long time.

Then suddenly hours turn into days, days into months, and months into years.

That little person who used to crawl up next to you in bed and cuddle up to watch cartoons suddenly becomes this young adult who hugs you in the hallway as they come and go.

And the chaos and laughter that used to echo throughout your home gets filled with silence and solitude.

You’ve learned how to parent a child who needs you to care for and protect them, but have no clue how the whole ‘letting go’ thing is supposed to work.

So you hold on as tight as you can, wondering how time passed so quickly, feeling guilty that you missed something.

Because even though you had 20 years, it just somehow doesn’t seem like it was enough.

You ask yourself so many questions.

Did you teach them the right lessons?
Did you read them enough books as a child?
Spend enough time playing with them?
How many school parties did you have to miss?
Do they really know how much you love them?
What could I have done better as a parent?

When it’s time for them to go, it all hits you like a ton of bricks.

And all you can do is pray, hope, and trust that God will protect them as they start to make their way into the world alone.

Parenting is by far the most amazing experience of your life, that at times leaves you exhilarated while others leave you heartbroken.

But one thing is certain: it’s never enough time.

So for all the parents with young children whose days are spent trying to figure out how to make it through the madness, exhausted day in and day out…

Soak. It. All. In.

Because one day all those crazy days full of cartoons, snuggles, sleepovers, Christmas morning magic, ball games, practices, and late-night dinners…

All come to an end.

And you’re left hoping that you did enough right, so that when they spread their wings….

They’ll fly.”