Inside: Why this mom isn’t counting the time she has left with her teenagers.
“Hey, Mom,” my teen son says as he walks in the door from soccer practice.
He startles me a little. I’m still not used to hearing his ever-deepening voice.
I look up, half expecting to see a stranger staring back at me. And in some ways, he is a stranger.
No longer is there this sweet, blonde little boy running into the house to greet me with a mischievous grin, sparkling blue eyes, and big hugs.
Instead, now this laid-back man-child enters the room in a sort of slow, distracted manner.
His smile no longer comes quite so easily; the hugs when they come are far less enthusiastic. And I have no doubt that those sparkling blue eyes that now look straight into my own will be looking down at me in a matter of months.
But I just can’t bring myself to count the summers until he is gone.
I understand the good intentions behind such sentiments. We all want to keep our kids in their childhoods for a little longer.
I always nod with appreciation each time a kind older woman admires my children at a store or restaurant and says with longing in her eyes, “Appreciate these moments, they’ll be grown and gone before you know it.”
I really do try to be grateful for the time I have with my kids as I’m experiencing just how fast they go from toddler to teenager. It can feel like less than a blink of my eye or the beat of my heart.
And without a doubt, sometimes as parents, we get focused on the wrong things. We let the frustrations overshadow the joys, and we take these dwindling days with our children for granted.
But the constant reminders of how quickly the sand is running out of their childhood hourglass creates an urgency that often only further sabotages our ability to savor the sweetness of motherhood.
Believe me, as the end of each school year comes faster than the one before, I am painfully aware that my children are racing towards adulthood at a speed that takes my breath away.
I desperately want to answer the repeated calls for me to do everything in my power to slow it down. But fighting time is a battle I will never win.
I refuse to live in a perpetual state of fear and panic
I don’t want to waste so much energy pushing back against the passing of days, months, and years that I leave myself too exhausted for the here and now.
I don’t want to resent the natural cycle of my children’s lives.
And most importantly, I don’t want to hold them back.
The futures they have in front of them are so full of potential. I can see it already.
My hope is when the last summer of their childhood comes to an end, they will go rushing out into the world, hearts full with anticipation. There should be no hesitation about leaving me behind. I don’t want them to look back.
Yes, the tears will flow, and my heart will ache as I watch them go.
But I also know at that moment that I won’t cease to be their mother.
Our bond is forever
They will come back, and eventually, they will bring more people for me to fold into my arms and love; husbands, wives, and grandchildren. Whoever they love, I will try and love too.
So, for now, I am not going to worry about how many summers I have left.
I’m simply going to enjoy each one as it comes.