If you are a parent, you have likely heard “you’re going to miss this” during the course of your child’s life. Changing diapers. Rocking chair sessions at night. First days of school. Learning to ride a bike. The days that seem so very long but will end up passing you by in an instant.
I appreciate the sentiment, and I will definitely miss certain things about this stage of motherhood. People have sympathy for you when your infant or toddler is sick, or better yet, when you and the kids are down and out at the same time. Kids can be the reason you pass on a dinner invitation or a night out because–let’s be honest–parenting is exhausting and sometimes you need quiet time more than you need happy hour. Children are the very best snugglers and there are few other times in life you can squeeze four people in one chair and still tell yourself you’re comfortable and content. These are just a few of things I will be sad to leave behind as Braden and Brynn get older.
But the real reason I don’t want my children to grow up? I’m scared.
I’m scared because the world is so incredibly complex, and it seems that our kids are experiencing and expecting more at a younger age. The influence of social media and access to literally everything via a Google search forces us as parents to be on our toes, ready for the next new thing that could infiltrate our lives. It leaves me wondering if we set enough parameters, if we set too many, if we open doors or close them. The list goes on.
I’m worried that although Jason and I try our best to lay a solid foundation at home, I cannot protect them from the sands upon which other houses may stand. I want my children to have a positive impact on their friends and the people they spend time with, while carefully balancing the need to reinforce what we hold on to as a family.
I feel there are a multitude of lessons to be learned, character traits I want them to develop, values I want to uphold, and I am overwhelmed at the thought of trying to sort through it all, pinning down the ones I deem most important.
Most of all, I’m scared because I know that I will not always be enough.
I will not always be the one that can give them the answer. I will not always win their favor, and while I realize that’s ok, I also know it will likely break my heart in the moment. And I will not be able to do life for them, correct their mistakes, or fix their problems.
What I will do is surround them with love. I can invite people into their lives that bring light. I can treat them as individuals, preparing them for the way they’ll want to be treated by others. I can open the lines of communication so that talking and listening are normal, not unexpected.
If there’s one thing being a mom has taught me, it is that I am stronger than I know. I am scared about what comes after the toddler years, but I am determined to face it all head-on.