With the start of yet another school year, while I wipe the tears from my face because my baby is now in kindergarten, I am reminded of a brief statement my mother-in-law said to me in passing. “Children are only children for eighteen years.”
When I am going through the everyday tasks of dressing, feeding, making breakfast, making lunch, making dinner, dropping off, picking up, shopping, cleaning, ordering, yelling, screaming, punishing and every other chore that makes raising children seem like a life sentence instead of a finite amount of time that goes by in a blink of an eye, I try to remember the bigger picture.
“Children are only children for eighteen years.” When I put it into perspective and compare it to my life, I have lived two childhoods. Compared to the length of time that I have been married, I would have a teenager and, in the amount of time that I have been out of high school, I could have a child who is the legal drinking age.
Children have such a short time to be kids and we, as parents, have even less until they don’t want us to take care of them anymore. So for now, let them be themselves. Let them get dirty, play in their good clothes, need hugs on demand, want to be held, sneak snacks from the pantry, jump on their bed, read by flashlight at night, not want to go to sleep and display childish behaviors. As hard as it is, give them a free pass without telling them to act their age…because they ARE acting their age. I never realized how fast time went by until I became a parent watching my children grow up before my eyes. You can never get those years back. Before you know it, their childhood is gone and what we are left with is just fading memories but if we are lucky, what they are left with are the lasting impressions that parents leave in their minds.